13 August 2012
With around 200,000 new cases worldwide of malignant melanoma, the most virulent form of skin cancer, reported in 2008 according to Cancer Research UK statistics, limiting exposure to the sun is vitally important. But keeping track of our exposure, particularly on cloudy days, can be a difficult exercise. New technology developed at the University of Strathclyde makes things easier by providing a visual warning of when to seek some shade or slap on some more sunscreen.
The technology, which is being commercialized in wristband form by Swedish company Intellego Technologies, works using an acid-release agent that is sensitive to ultraviolet light, and a dye, which responds to pH levels in the indicator. As the risk of sunburn increases, the wristband changes in color from yellow to pink. As the acid-release agent is decomposed by sunlight, the wristband is able to change color rapidly.
Intellego Technologies plans to have its UV dosimeter wristband available in time for the summer (northern hemisphere) of 2013, probably in the springtime.