Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Waterloo, Ont.-Based Startup Suncayr Aims to Shine with UV-Sensitive Marker

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Waterloo, Ont.-Based Startup Suncayr Aims to Shine with UV-Sensitive Marker

Article excerpt

Suncayr aims to shine with UV-sensitive pen


WATERLOO, Ont. - Even when Rachel Pautler slathered on handfuls of sunscreen she still got burnt at the beach.

Being fair-skinned certainly has its setbacks in the summertime but Pautler wasn't going to settle for the shade.

"I'm really vigilant about sunscreen, but I still find myself being sunburnt," said the co-founder and CEO of Suncayr, based in Waterloo, Ont.

"It's a real pain point."

So Pautler and her team created a UV-sensitive marker you apply before your sunscreen. The ink goes on your skin clear but when the marking changes to purple, that means it's time to reapply protection.

As they see it, Suncayr is useful for anyone who loves the sun, but especially for parents trying to keep tabs on the sensitive skin of their children.

Burns are one of the seemingly inevitable dangers of summer and maintaining the right amount of sunscreen is a guessing game.

While several companies have launched products to monitor UV exposure, generally the results have been mixed.

French company Netatmo is selling a bracelet called June that measures UV rays through a faux jewel, which sends the data to a phone app. It sells for US$130 online. Others have tried simpler versions of a UV wristband that leave a tan line and don't necessarily provide an accurate measurement of your skin's protection.

Some parents have settled for a more basic UV sticker applied directly to skin, but when their kids wade into water, it can fall off.

Suncayr thinks their marker has the potential to appeal to a broader market than any of these other ideas.

After nearly two years of work, the company says it is in the process of taking the idea to the masses, applying for the necessary approvals from Health Canada and preparing for a presale launch online in September.

It would be a fast rise for a startup that began in a classroom at the University of Waterloo in 2013.

Pautler and several engineering classmates were assigned to invent a technology that solved a problem in their daily lives, part of a major class project for their final year.

After much brainstorming, the group decided to tackle the frustration of accidentally taking their tan too far. …

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