Tiny sun sensor warns you when your skin is about to burn

Time to get out of the solar

Shuai Xu, Northwestern College

A miniature wearable sensor has been designed to let you realize when you’ve spent an excessive amount of or too little time within the solar.

Extra publicity to the solar’s ultraviolet (UV) rays may cause sunburn, untimely pores and skin ageing and pores and skin most cancers, whereas underexposure can result in vitamin D deficiency and worsen pores and skin situations like eczema and psoriasis.

A number of units exist for monitoring solar publicity, however they’re often cumbersome and costly. Most are additionally non-waterproof, making them inappropriate to be used throughout sweaty or water-based actions.


To handle these points, Shuai Xu at Northwestern College within the US and his colleagues developed a small, low-cost, waterproof UV sensor that may be caught on to the pores and skin or hooked up to jewelry or clothes.

The round sensor is eight millimetres broad and 1 millimetre thick and weighs 50 milligrams. It converts UV gentle to an electrical present, the magnitude of which signifies the extent of solar publicity. An inbuilt radio antenna transmits this data wirelessly to the consumer’s smartphone.

Sunburn danger

The person’s sunburn danger is then calculated based mostly on their UV dose and different data they supply about their pores and skin sort and the way a lot sunscreen and clothes they’re carrying. “This permits customers to obtain a really particular advice,” says Xu.

The sensor was examined by 9 volunteers in Brazil and 13 in Florida. They caught it to their fingernails, arms or arms whereas they did leisure actions on a rooftop, went swimming, showered with cleaning soap, or went for lengthy walks.

The sensor measured UV dose as precisely as a business machine, and its flexible, plastic casing made it comfy to put on and proof against warmth, cleaning soap and water.

Xu says he hopes the know-how will assist to curb the present pores and skin most cancers epidemic within the US and Australia by letting folks know when they need to apply sunscreen or go indoors. On the similar time, it may be utilized by folks with eczema and psoriasis to verify they get sufficient solar, he says.

The sensor and smartphone app have been available for purchase for $60 since final month after being commercialised by cosmetics firm L’Oréal.

Journal reference: Science Translational Drugs, DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aau1643

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