Sunscreenr Enters the ‘Shark Tank’: A Look Inside the Company

This device helps you apply sunscreen without missing a spotSunscreenr is a viewer that highlights sunscreen on skin. David Cohen and Jon Meyer could help prevent skin cancer.

Sunscreenr, a viewer used while applying sunscreen to show where you missed a spot, entered the Shark Tank in Season 8. The device employs the use of a UV camera that monitors reflected UV rays. Skin coated with sunscreen will appear dark on the screen, while the skin that isn’t with show up light.

We interviewed scientist David Cohen, its founder and CEO, who explained that the product is available to pre-order on their website. “Our production planning has us shipping the first units to the Kickstarter and Indiegogo backers by April 15, 2017. Production will ramp up from there but to guarantee that you get one quickly we suggest pre-ordering now,” he said.

Here’s what else he told us about…

How the Idea Came About

Sunscreen-detecting cameraSunscreenr co-founder Dave Cohen on the company’s sunscreen-detecting camera.2016-06-02T20:26:26Z

My business partner Jon came up with the idea for Sunscreenr after seeing his mother struggle with skin cancer. He has an interest in photography and when he was out experimenting doing photography of flowers several years ago, he noticed a visual effect that triggered the idea for him.

How it Works

Sunscreenr is a special viewer that shows you only the part of the UV spectrum that sunscreen blocks. Since sunscreen blocks UV light, it appears dark on the skin. Unprotected skin reflects some UV light, so it appears bright. We humans can’t see UV light so Sunscreenr has to not only filter out all of the unwanted light but it also has to convert the invisible to visible.

The 1st Prototype

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Jon and I first discussed his idea in early August of 2015 and I had a working prototype by the end of October that year. But the image quality was awful, it was just a very simple proof of concept that it could be done. I did a bunch of research into the components I thought that I needed to make it work and I also did a lot of patent searching to make sure that someone hadn’t already come up with the idea.

How His Scientific Background Helped

I could not have made Sunscreenr without my technical background. I have always been a jack of all trades, never specializing, but instead working on many different kinds of science and engineering projects during my career. So when Jon brought me his idea for Sunscreenr, I had the right breadth of knowledge to understand all aspects of what needed to be done and how to turn it into a consumer product.

Plans for the Future

Jon and I hope to make Sunscreenr a successful product. It has the potential to really help people to a better job protecting themselves from the sun. Since skin cancer is largely preventable it is possible that, over many years, Sunscreenr could actually play a role in reducing rates of cancer. What an incredibly opportunity!

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