It could someday be a really important tool in the fight against skin cancer. Researchers at Northwestern University say they have a device that could warn you when you’re getting sunburned.
"We know that a melanoma survivor, they’re at a much higher risk of developing a second melanoma so there’s more impetus to protect yourself from the sun," said Dr. Steve Xu, dermatologist.
Dr. Xu worked with professor John Rogers, and other researchers, to develop this U-V sensor.
The wearable device is feather light, waterproof, battery free, wafer-thin, and is about the size of a tic-tac. Users can affix the sensor to a fingernail, clothing, even sunglasses.
"Because it’s so small and so unobtrusive you can really put it anywhere," said Professor Rogers, Northwestern University.
The device detects UVA and UVB, the communicates the data to an app in your phone. Users can personalize the app with skin type, health information such as family history and location.
"It will tell you here’s how much time you have to remain in the sun," said Rogers. "With those set of conditions, and with the data coming from this device, before you’ll get burned.
Users will see an hourglass graphic that will count down the minutes before a possible sun burn.
"By having a sensor that’s able to provide you real work information, it give the control back to you," said Dr. Xu. "You’re not guessing anymore."
Cosmetics company L’Oreal has jumped on board to make the product widely available.
The wearable device is in the final steps of manufacturing, and is set to hit the market in 2019.