Alumni Stories – UV Lens

Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a major risk factor for most skin cancers. Even though UV rays make up only a very small portion of the sun’s rays, they are the main cause of the sun’s damaging effects on the skin as they affect the DNA of skin cells. 

UVLens is the first product released by Spark 64, an AI Agency co-founded by Daniel Xu, Ming Cheuk and Richard McLean. UVLens uses UV sensors and cloud data models to provide digital information and tools that teach people about UV and sun safety. It is fed data from localised ground sensors and other satellite information from around the globe. People with smartphones can easily determine what the UV levels are in their local area and forecast the likely levels over the next two days. Based off that, the app then recommends what kind of UV protection their skin type will need.


More than 100 UV sensors have been installed in kindergarten playgrounds around New Zealand so teachers know when it’s safe to take children outside and when they need sunscreen. They have also created tailored products for secondary schools, music festivals such as Rhythm and Vines, and major sporting events such as the New Zealand Ocean Swim Series.


The idea was entered into the 2013 Velocity $100k Challenge and went on to become a finalist. “Our plan is to build the next Facebook in New Zealand.” says Daniel. Their company vision is to democratize AI and solve challenging problems that will have a positive impact on the world.