Wrist-worn monitor warns of over-exposure to the sun

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A monitor developed at Strathclyde University to help prevent over-exposure to the sun is set to go on the market as part of a new spinout company.

According to a statement, the device helps to indicate to users when they have been exposed to a certain amount of UV radiation by changing colour as the risk of over-exposure progresses, giving a visual warning of when it is time to seek shade.

The technology will be commercialised by Swedish-based company Intellego Technologies, established by Swedish entrepreneur Claes Lindahl, which aims to have it available for spring 2013, and will initially be available as a wristband.

Prof Andrew Mills and Dr Michael McFarlane, who are both responsible for the original invention, will be engaged as consultants to Intellego.

Prolonged exposure to the sun can increase the risk of skin cancer, of which the most virulent form — malignant melanoma — had 200,000 new cases worldwide in 2008, according to Cancer Research UK statistics.

Lindahl said: ‘We are very excited about the UV dosimeter technology and we look forward to developing it further and commercialising it.

‘There is a substantial need out in the market for a functional UV dosimeter and we look forward to continuing the process in collaboration with the University of Strathclyde, Michael McFarlane and Andrew Mills.’

The monitor works by changing colour markedly, from yellow to pink, as the risks of sunburn increase.

It is said to operate through an acid-release agent that picks up ultraviolet light and a dye that responds to pH levels in the indicator. The agent is decomposed by sunlight, leading to the rapid change in colour.

The development of the device received initial funding and support from Scottish Enterprise’s Proof of Concept fund.