Queensland powerline repairers, who spent hours in the sun, are helping researchers improve a special camera that detects skin cancer.

Powerline repairmen in Queensland could help revolutionise how skin cancers are detected.

The men, who spend up to seven hours a day in the sun, are helping dermatologists finetune a polarised lens camera that magnifies skin images 10 times.

The device connects to a smartphone camera, enabling detailed photographs to be sent via multimedia message or email to a specialist, who can make a possible skin cancer diagnosis.

At present, it sells for $400 to doctors.

But Professor Peter Soyer, who chairs the University of Queensland’s Dermatology Research Centre, says researchers will monitor how 100 powerline repairmen use the device so it can eventually sell for $30.

“It will be the first time in the world that this is done at the coalface,” he told the launch on Tuesday.

State-owned electricity distributor Energex is asking workers to volunteer for the Princess Alexandra Research Foundation project, as it contributes $110,000.

Fourth-year apprentice Shaun Hem said it would save him having to wait for an appointment with a dermatologist.

“I don’t go to hospital unless I’m not breathing,” he told AAP.

Energy Minister Mark McArdle said women were better at checking their skin than men.

“Generally, across the issues of their health, men don’t do that well,” he said.