Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Sunscreen Tester


Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer for young adults. Wearing sunscreen can protect your skin from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation. The effectiveness of a sunscreen is measured by its sun protection factor (SPF). The SPF indicates the amount of time you can remain in the sun before getting a burn. For example, a person wearing a sunscreen labeled SPF 10 can remain in the sun ten times longer than a person wearing no sunscreen. SPF ratings are approximate values, however, because most sunburns also depend on your skin type, the amount of sunscreen you applied, and the type of activity you are doing.

In this project, your challenge is to build a sensor-controlled robot to test the effectiveness of various sunscreens.

Note: This project is best done in summer months when the sun is high in the sky and UV levels are high. You should not do this project if the UVB readings in the direct sun are less than a few hundred mW/m2.

Design Requirements

In this project, you will design a sensor-controlled robot to test the effectiveness of various sunscreens. You will use a Vernier UVB Sensor and a Vernier NXT Sensor Adapter connected to your LEGO NXT to measure UV. Build a mobile robot to move back and forth under a plastic-wrapped canopy. The canopy can be built from LEGO beams or bricks, and a thin layer of assorted sunscreens can be applied to different sections of the plastic wrap. After the robot travels the length of the canopy, testing each sunscreen, it will position itself under the most effective sunscreen. Your robot should be fairly rugged, since you will be using it outdoors.

You are strongly encouraged to use the Engineering Design Method when creating your device.

Sensors and Equipment

This project features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.

Additional Requirements

You will also need NXT Sensor Adapter and a LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT robotics system.

Standards Correlations

See all standards correlations for Vernier Engineering Projects with LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Education NXT »

Project 4 from Vernier Engineering Projects with LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Education NXT Lab Book

<i>Vernier Engineering Projects with LEGO<sup>®</sup> MINDSTORMS<sup>®</sup> Education NXT</i> book cover

Included in the Lab Book

Vernier lab books include word-processing files of the student instructions, essential teacher information, suggested answers, sample data and graphs, and more.

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