The SPF Initiative

Mar 19, 2024 | ChangeMaker Winner 2024

Team Name: Sunny Software Sisters

Project Title: The SPF Initiative

AI used: BotPress, Google Analytics, Teachable Machine

Project Type: Website

Project Link: https://replit.com/@IsabellaSantan4/Sunscreen#index.html

Video Link: https://youtu.be/F1z3V-KWOk0?si=U0uoxY1tVIPky29H

Write Up: 

 According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, more than 9,500 people are diagnosed with skin cancer every day and more than two people die from this cancer every hour. In fact, more Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer than all other cancers combined. This problem is even more significant in Florida, a state that has the second-highest number of new melanoma cases in the country. Since overexposure to UV radiation is the main cause of skin cancer and Florida has the third-highest average UV index in the nation, Floridians are at an increased risk of developing skin cancer.

We have personally been affected by this issue as our fathers, grandfathers, and other family members have been diagnosed with at least one type of skin cancer in their lifetime. Therefore, we created The SPF Initiative in an effort to spread awareness about the dangers of ultraviolet radiation and provide others with engaging ways to learn about how to protect their skin and health.

Our project provides countless informational resources to educate users about the dangers of UV rays and how to protect yourself from them such as recent news articles and interactive videos. Additionally, in order to help individuals recognize the characteristics of skin cancer, our website has flip cards that provide pictures and detailed information about each type of skin cancer so that users can recognize the traits if they begin to appear. Furthermore, we created an interactive, multiple-choice quiz that tells the user what type of skin cancer they most likely have in order to spread awareness about the characteristics of different skin cancers and help users catch their cancer before it spreads.  

It is important to learn about sun safety at an early age in order to prevent overexposure to UV radiation. Therefore, we created an interactive word scrambler game that encourages children of all ages to learn about sun safety by asking them to unscramble words that are related to the sun protection topics found on our website. By implementing an engaging way to learn about sun safety, children will be motivated to learn about how to protect their skin and will be more likely to carry these good habits into adulthood.

Since, according to the National Park Service, ten percent of the world’s coral reefs are affected by sunscreen-induced bleaching, it is important to wear reef-safe sunscreen in order to protect our environment. Thus, we embedded a machine image model that was trained using machine learning image classification to tell the user whether their sunscreen is reef-safe when they hold it up to their device’s camera. This model will encourage users to switch to environment-friendly sunscreen in order to simultaneously protect their skin and the environment.

While working on this project, we encountered many issues that ultimately resulted in the development of our communication and coding skills. Our biggest struggle occurred when, halfway through coding the website, we realized that it was not responsive. Therefore, the site looked different on different size devices. We spent days researching how to implement Bootstrap on websites and, after much trial and error, made each page completely responsive so that it looks the same on all devices including cell phones and laptops.

The most rewarding part of creating our project was seeing it being used to help our family members solve real-world problems. Our teammate’s father was diagnosed with skin cancer in 2018 but could not remember what type of skin cancer it was. After taking our interactive quiz that categorizes the user’s skin cancer, he was able to correctly identify his cancer as squamous cell carcinoma and take preventative measures to prevent it from returning. The joy and satisfaction that came from seeing our loved ones benefit from our project was incredibly rewarding and worthwhile. The SPF Initiative has forever impacted us and we hope that our project continues to better the lives of others in the future.