To paraphrase that old A-ha song, the sun always shines on the UAE. And, it would seem, so do ultra violet rays! For today, the online weather tracker, Meteovista, reported UV-Index of 5 for Dubai, which is apparently enough for you to get skin burns “easily”. Elsewhere, WeatherOnline displayed UV-Index of 7 for Abu Dhabi, which translates to skin burns “quickly”.
So we were rather intrigued when cosmetics major L’Oréal announced My UV Patch at CES 2016. It claims to be the “first-ever stretchable skin sensor designed to monitor UV exposure and help consumers educate themselves about sun protection”. One square inch in area and just 50 micrometer thick, the patch includes a layer of colour-changing photosensitive dye. You can stick it to an exposed part of your skin, and regularly hook it up with your phone via NFC, while using a companion app to scan the dye colour and estimates your exposure to UV rays.
The patch will be available later this year, bundled with L’Oréal’s skincare brand, La Roche-Posay. And as Guive Balooch, Global Vice President of L’Oréal’s Technology Incubator, adds, “Connected technologies have the potential to completely disrupt how we monitor the skin’s exposure to various external factors, including UV.”
Elsewhere, the upcoming Violet too claims to be the world’s first smart wearable designed to protect you from sun-related skin damage, while also tracking daily vitamin D production. It has two UAV/ UVB sensors that work with a smartphone app to “analyze your sun exposure and suggest actions without overwhelming you with data”. Currently, you can pre-order it for $65, which is 50 per cent off the retail price.
But if you don’t mind trading the waterproof “aircraft grade aluminium” construction of the Violet for something cheaper — but plasticky — well, the SunFriend is available in “five fun colours”, including “citrus orange” and “spring green”. This $36 waterproof wrist strap has a UVA+B monitor, and the onboard LED starts flashing “as you reach your daily limit of safer UV exposure”.
Another option is the Netatmo June bracelet, which looks more like a piece of jewellery than a bland wearable. It was announced at CES 2014, and is currently available on a few online marketplaces, but not on the company’s own store — so we assume the product either flopped, or an upgraded version is about to be released.
Finally, do you even need ones of these new-fangled UV trackers? Well, the answer obviously depends on how long you end up under the sun. And as the L’Oréal press release points out, such technologies are becoming available “at a time when sun exposure has become a major health issue, with 90 per cent of nonmelanoma skin cancers being associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sun in addition to attributing to skin pigmentation and photoaging”. So next time you step out, you might just want to check the UV-Index first.