UV-measuring wrist band lets you know when to reapply sunscreen
By Ben Coxworth
March 7, 2013
If you spend much time outdoors in the summer, then you doubtless know how important it is to wear sunscreen. That said, you probably also know that just applying it once before you first go outside isn’t good enough – for sufficient protection from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, periodic reapplications are also necessary. The UVeBand is a new wearable device, that’s designed to let you know when it’s time for those reapplications.
First of all, you might be thinking that you could just use the timer on your watch or phone as a reminder. Well, you could, although many people probably just wouldn’t bother. Additionally, the UVeBand isn’t simply a timer – it actually keeps track of the intensity of UVA and UVB rays, so its alert time will be recalculated if the sun goes behind the clouds, or if you move to a shadier area.
The device itself is a silicone-coated water-resistant band, that the user simply slaps onto their wrist. The band’s capacitive switching technology turns the device on upon contact with the skin – it also turns the band off again (and resets it) when it’s removed.
Once activated, the UVeBand’s integrated UV sensor measures incoming ultraviolet radiation via a small window, once every three seconds. An onboard processor keeps track of the cumulative exposure.
Based on a formula “developed by a leading dermatologist in the USA” (and in compliance with guidelines from the World Health Organization and World Meteorological Organization), the wristband alerts the user when it’s time for them to apply more sunscreen, by vibrating for two minutes. The formula assumes that a sunscreen of SPF15 or higher is being used.
The wrist band also vibrates briefly once every 15 minutes, just to confirm that’s it’s working. Users don’t need to worry about recharging or replacing any batteries, as the device is powered by the sunlight that it’s monitoring.
UVeBand’s designers currently have a number of working prototypes, and are now raising production funds on Kickstarter. A pledge of £8 (US$12) will get you one, when and if the funding goal is reached.
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