Even though you think you are being careful, it’s sometimes hard to know whether you are taking the right steps to protect yourself from the negative effects of the sun.
Scientists in the UK have developed a new wearable device that monitors the correct amount of sun exposure for a person’s skin type in order to stay healthy.
Small enough to fit into a tie clip or a hair slide, the Solitair device consists of a tiny sensor that measures how much sunlight the user is exposed to. The information is synchronized to a smartphone app that offers real time recommendations on when it is time to seek out shade.
The user starts by taking a skin pigment reading via the smartphone app. This is then synchronised with the weather forecast and the user’s planned movements using geolocation, which adjusts exposure levels.
People in Scotland, for example, can cope with more time in the sun than those in Egypt. Throughout the day, real-time updates are sent to the user’s smartphone.
While other sun monitors exist on the market, its developers say Solitair offers a truly personal approach to sun safety.
“We’re very good in terms of colour measurement, optics and image analysis. So we’ve brought our expertise in those various areas together to really look at skin in a novel way that can directly feed that information into the app,” says one of its inventors, Peter Luebcke, a technology developer with product development firm Cambridge Consultants.
He says Solitair also takes into account an extra parameter – whether the user is wearing sunscreen or not:
“This is not a system that is a substitute for sun screen. It actually brings that in to the equation so you know what’s safe for you, your skins type, that SPF (Sun Protection Factor), that location and your planned movements for the day.”
The plan is now to shrink the device to the size of a button, making it virtually unnoticeable and easy to conceal no matter what you are wearing, which can come in handy on the beach.