CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — Northwestern University teamed up with the global beauty company L’Oréal to launch a wearable electronic device that monitors UV exposure.
Northwestern engineer John Rogers, created in a partnership with L’Oréal, developed the smallest wearable device in the world. The battery-free sensor is wafer-thin, feather-light and can fit on a fingernail. It is also the first-of-its-kind, and precisely measures a person’s exposure to UV light from the sun.
“Skin cancer is the most prominent form of cancer, and UV light is the most prevalent carcinogen known,” Rogers said. “Any kind of device that provides information in that context could be very valuable.”
Rogers says the goal of the wearable device is to increase awareness of UV exposure and to decrease skin cancers and sunburn.
“The hope is with that kind of information, it will help people modulate their behavior patterns and their exposure to the sun,” he said.
Users need only to download an app on their smartphone, then swipe the phone over the device to see their exposure to the sun, either for that day or over time, Northwestern Now reports. The app can suggest other, less UV-intense times for outdoor activities, or give peace of mind to individuals who are concerned about overexposure.
Clinical trials are already underway; the product could be available to consumers by the end of next year.