A new sensor to prevent sunburn in 2021
L’Oréal, in collaboration with the research team of Professor John Rogers, at the University of Northwestern, are launching a miniature wearable sensor to know whether we are spending too much or not enough time in the sun.
Risks due to over- or under-exposure to UV
Excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays can cause serious skin problems. The sun causes sunburn and premature aging of the skin. But it can also cause allergies and in the most serious cases, cancer (melanoma and carcinoma).
Overexposure also causes eye problems such as ophthalmia, cataracts or retinal degeneration. But underexposure can lead to vitamin D deficiency and worsen skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
There are several devices for controlling sun exposure. But they are generally bulky and expensive. Most are generally not waterproof. They are therefore not suitable for sports or aquatic activities.
In order to address these issues, Northwestern University in the United States has developed a small UV sensor. It is waterproof and can be stuck directly to the skin. It can also be attached to bracelets / accessories or clothing.
The sensor weighs only 50 milligrams. It measures a few millimeters wide for 1 millimeter thick. It transforms UVA and UVB rays into electric current. The magnitude of this current indicates the level of exposure to the sun. A mini antenna transmits information directly to the user’s phone.
Risk of sunburn
A person’s risk of sunburn is then calculated based on their dose of UV rays. “This allows users to receive very specific recommendations,” Northwestern University researchers say.
The research team is hoping the technology will help reduce the number of skin cancer. The sensor can also be used by people with eczema and psoriasis to notify them of underexposure to UV rays.
The sensor and smartphone app are currently available in the US market. Successfully unveiled at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, it is marketed by L’Oréal under the name My Skin Track UV from La Roche-Posay.
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