Sun protection could be about to get a whole lot easier thanks to L’Oréal, which has unveiled the first-ever stretchable skin sensor designed to monitor UV exposure. "My UV Patch," revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, aims to help consumers educate themselves about sun protection by changing colour when the wearer is exposed to strong UV rays.
The patch is a transparent adhesive measuring about one square inch (about 6 cm2), containing photosensitive dyes that factor in the baseline skin tone of its user and the strength of the UV rays being experienced. It has a thickness of 50 micrometres and can be stretched and applied to any area of the skin. Users can take photos of the patch and upload them to the corresponding La Roche-Posay My UV Patch mobile app, which analyzes the varying photosensitive dye squares to determine the amount of UV exposure the wearer has received.
The app will be available on both iOS and Android, incorporating Near Field Communications (NFC)-enabled technology into the patch-scanning process for Android.
"Connected technologies have the potential to completely disrupt how we monitor the skin’s exposure to various external factors, including UV," says Guive Balooch, Global Vice President of L’Oréal’s Technology Incubator, which developed the patch in partnership with MC10 a stretchable electronics company using cutting-edge innovation to create stretchable systems for biometric healthcare analytics.
"Previous technologies could only tell users the amount of potential sun exposure they were receiving per hour while wearing a rigid, non-stretchable device. The key was to design a sensor that was thin, comfortable and virtually weightless so people would actually want to wear it."
The patch is being released by the group’s dermatological skincare brand La Roche-Posay and is expected to be made available to consumers later this year.