Sunfried warns users to seek shade if sun exposure exceeds safe limits

Skin-cancer preventing wristband monitors UV exposure

An American start-up has developed a wristband that alerts users if exposure of their skin to UVA and UVB rays has exceeded safe limits.

Introducing the gadget at London’s Wearable Technology Conference, Karin Edgett, the chief executive of the company, called Sun Fried, said their motivation was to improve the ability of users to protect themselves against deadly skin cancer.

"The reason we brought this product to market was because skin damage, which leads to skin cancer, is epidemic in a lot of places around the world," she said.

Edgett developed the device together with her husband, Nasa scientist Shahid Aslam

"We feel like there isn't a good tool for people to measure themselves in terms of how much sun is safe; it's all a guessing game. If you use sunscreen there's no correlation, according to the FDA, between SPF and how much time you should spend in the sun. So you're guessing even if you use sunscreen," she explained.

The device, expected to be released into the market in April, is equipped with a light sensor registering the amount of direct sunlight the skin receives. It combines the information with the knowledge of the user’s sensitivity level and triggers an alarm when the time spent on direct sunlight exceeds safe limits.

SunFriend said it plans to fit the future models of their activity monitor wilth Bluetooth, in order to allow the devices to send data into users’ smartphones, providing better interface.

According to Cancer Research UK, skin cancer is the fifth most common cause of the disease in the UK, with 1 in 10 affected in 2010.

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