A tiny UV sensor that can be mounted on clothing or accessories could help to reduce the number of people who lose their lives to skin cancer, according to scientists.
The small monitoring device is the size of a fingernail and it allows people to track doses of ultraviolet radiation when they’re outside.
Over-exposure to UV can drastically increase the risk of skin cancers and experts fear the disease could reach epidemic proportions if adequate action is not taken fast.
However, with sunlight providing valuable health benefits and reducing the likelihood of a vitamin D deficiency, it’s important to find the right balance – which can be hard for individuals to do.
This is why scientists at Northwestern Medicine and Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering believe the wireless, battery-free sensor could help to save lives, by giving wearers valuable data and enabling them to make potentially life-changing decisions about their health.
The tool monitors three different wavelengths of light and allows researchers to separate the different kinds of exposure.
It also measures white light exposure that can be used for people with seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
John Rogers, who led the research group at Northwestern said: “From the standpoint of the user, it couldn’t be easier to use – it’s always on yet never needs to be recharged. It weighs as much as a raindrop, has a diameter smaller than that of an M&M and the thickness of a credit card. It can be mounted on a hat or glued to sunglasses or a watch.”