8 April, 2019
Principal Investigator and University of Canterbury Associate Professor Martin Allen has designed and made lightweight, wearable, electronic UV dosimeters for skin cancer prevention and vitamin D research.
This year, with MacDiarmid Institute support, Associate Professor Allen trialled the dosimeters at a SunSmart programme at Stanley Bay School in Auckland. Over several days, 245 students used the dosimeters to measure the reduction in UV radiation from shade, sunglasses, school clothing, and sunscreen.
Dr Alana Hyland, a former student of Associate Professor Allen, has designed a cartoon character called Kara Chameleon. The cartoon demonstrates New Zealand’s recommended SunSmart behaviours and also shows students the SunSmart UV Lab.
Associate Professor Allen says chameleons are remarkable creatures that can sense UV light and rapidly change colour in response to their environment. “Chameleons actually change colour by changing the spacing between nanocrystals in their skin,” he says.
Stanley Bay Principal Lucy Naylor said the programme was a great opportunity for the students to learn to keep themselves safe.