GC600 spectators the first to trial sun safe app

Dr Elke Hacker is a researcher with QUT's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation. Her researcher focus is on sun protection and technologies that reduce skin cancer risk. Media use only. Photo Credit: QUT/ Anthony Weate

Burning rubber not skin is the key message QUT sun safe researchers want Gold Coast 600 spectators to remember this weekend (October 20-22 2017), with the release of a new app specifically designed for the Gold Coast.

Lead researcher Dr Elke Hacker, from QUT’s Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI), said the SunVisor app, which was being trialled ahead of future outdoor events planned for the region, featured Gold Coast weather data and a speedometer of risk for sunburn.

“The SunVisor app aims to help spectators at the Gold Coast 600 make sun safe choices and avoid sunburn,” Dr Hacker said.

“Individuals can input their personalised details including skin type, location and environment, and using AI (artificial intelligence) technology the app will provide personalised sun safe advice.

“For example, by allowing people to pinpoint their geographic location, whether they are at the beach or in built up environment, and whether they have fair or dark skin, these details can be used to determine sunburn risk and provide personalised advice.

“If the sunburn risk speedometer is in the red, then it may be the case that less than 15 minutes in the sun could damage your skin.”

In addition the SunVisor app provides local temperature information and the UV Index.

Dr Hacker said the app also allowed users to input their sunscreen information and receive notifications on when to reapply.

“Although we have had significant rainfalls across the state, we can’t be complacent about sun protection. When the clouds clear it may still be cool and people might not expect the risk of sunburn to be so high,” she said.

“Despite the warnings, Queenslanders continue to experience high rates of sunburn with more than 70 per cent of young people getting sunburnt each year,” she said.

“Exposure to ultraviolet radiation from sunlight is the main risk factor for skin cancer and sunburn reflects a damaging dose of sunlight.

“This project is about helping people make sun safe decisions when they are outdoors and QUT is working with the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency to continue improving this technology.”

Dr Hacker said it was hoped that the trial of the app at the Gold Coast 600 would provide valuable information and evaluation ahead of future outdoor events.

“As vital as it is to make sure the technology works, as researchers we also want to ensure that the app suits the needs of users,” she said.

“The Gold Coast is a huge drawcard for local and international visitors, and we want to make sure their stay is both enjoyable and sun safe.”

The free SunVisor app is available for download on Android and Apple devices during the Gold Coast 600 event. Spectators are also encouraged to provide evaluation of the app at the end of the event using the feedback tab in the app.

Source: QUT

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