A new watch-like gadget can measure UV exposure and predicts when they will get sunburn, without preventing them to get all-important vitamin D. The discovery intends to avoid the excess use of suncream, which protects skin from harmful effects of the sun’s rays but which stops the skin from absorbing UVB rays.
UVB rays produce vitamin D. Researchers believe use of such creams might have caused a global deficiency of Vitamin D. It is hoped that the watch will help people overcome the problems of vitamin D deficiency. The gadget operation starts by inputting an estimated skin sensitivity, on a scale of 1 to 11. The LED lights lining the watch then illuminate as UV exposure increases. When the UV exposure reaches the maximum, the LED lights begin to blink.
Karin Edgett, who co-founded the company producing the gadget said: ‘Vitamin D deficiency is pandemic around the world. There are huge numbers of people who are aware the sun is healthy, but don’t know how much they need. UVB gives you vitamin D and UVA tends to give you more sun damage.’
Barbara Boucher who researches vitamin D at Queen Mary University of London, was frank about its possible shortcomings, saying: ‘Worn on the wrist, it only tells you about sunlight on that wrist and not how much vitamin D one might make during exposure, since the rest of the arms could be covered up.’
The latest version is in market for $50. It is expected to be upgraded to a new version which will have Bluetooth capability linking to a smart phone app. The team is also planning to develop a sensor that will be able to differentiate between UVA and UVB rays.