With the U.S. Surgeon General just last week announcing that there has been a 200 percent increase in melanoma cases in the U.S. since 1973, skin cancer awareness is certainly top of mind in the U.S.
Now a new wearable tech product may be on the way to help in the continued fight against this deadly form of cancer.
A new waterproof, disposable wristband, dubbed the Smartsun Monitor, is coming to market that tells you when you've been in the sun too long. The band changes color from yellow to pink upon extended UV exposure, letting you know it's time to seek some shade, as too much longer and you'll be getting a sunburn.
Seeing as the changing of the color of your skin to bright red is the warning people usually rely on, this product would appear to have a solid chance at success.
The color change is triggered by an acid-release agent, which detects ultraviolet light, and a dye responding to pH levels in the indicator. This agent is essentially decomposed by the suns rays causing the change of color from yellow to pink.
The product's creators, Scotland's University of Strathclyde scientists, claim the wristband will work differently on different skin types as everyone has varying tolerance levels to the sun. They explain that a bracelet for someone with fair hair and light skin will actually change color more quickly than one for someone with dark hair and dark skin.
"During the last two years the Smartsun wristband has gone through extensive testing and customer feedback in order to create a product with high functionality and ease of use," explained entrepreneur Claes Lindahl of the Swedish-based Intellego Technologies, the company behind bringing the product to market. " We are very happy with the customer feedback, and hopefully we can help to make the summer more enjoyable for the users of our wristbands."
The two lead scientists behind the development of the product, professor Andrew Mills and Dr. Michael McFarlane, are engaged as consultants to Intellego as the product gets set to launch in Europe.
The two professors have set up a website for more information on the Smartsun Monitor where they pay particular attention to how the product can help younger people when it comes too much sun exposure.
"Parents are all too familiar with the way kids lose track of time and teenagers think they don't need protection. Smartsun is ideal to help parents monitor when small children need to apply additional sunscreen, cover up or move out of the sun. The Smartsun wristband gives you a clear indication of your child's UV exposure," the site explains.
While U.S. Surgeon General Boris Lushniak has vowed to spend the month of August on an anti-sun tanning brigade, the timing for the Smartsun Monitor may be ideal, though the product is scheduled for release in Europe initially. At a cost of $1.70 per wristband the price certainly shouldn't be a deterrent.