A monitor developed at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow for preventing the risk of over exposure to the sun is now available for sale online.
The Smartsun device, worn as a waterproof wristband, changes color according to the amount of exposure the wearer has to UV (ultra-violet) radiation. It starts off yellow but turns pink as exposure increases, warning users to get out of the sun.
The monitor’s sensitivity to ultraviolet light means it can alert the wearer to the danger before it is visible on the skin.
Prolonged exposure to the sun can increase the risk of skin cancer. The rates of the most virulent form of this cancer, malignant melanoma, are now five times higher than 40 years ago, with diagnoses in 17 people per 100,000 each year, compared with three per 100,000 in the 1970s, according to Cancer Research UK statistics. Malignant melanoma caused 2,209 deaths in the UK in 2011.
Smartsun is being marketed by Swedish-based company Intellego Technologies, established by entrepreneur Claes Lindahl. Professor Andrew Mills and Dr. Michael McFarlane, who developed the original invention while they were previously with Strathclyde’s Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry, are engaged as consultants to Intellego.
Mr. Lindahl said, “During the last two years the Smartsun wristband has gone through extensive testing and customer feedback in order to create a product with high functionality and ease of use. We are very happy with the customer feedback , and hopefully we can help to make the summer more enjoyable for the UK users of our wristbands.”
Stuart Mackenzie, Commercialization Infrastructure Manager with the University of Strathclyde’s Research & Knowledge Exchange Services, said: “Strathclyde is a leading international technological university where impact and innovation are at the heart of our research activity.
“Smartsun will continue this tradition as a protective and preventative device benefiting public health. We have high hopes for Intellego’s future as it brings this technology to the UK and international market.”
The Smartsun monitor works through a significant colour change, created by an acid-release agent which detects ultraviolet light and a dye responding to pH levels in the indicator. The agent is decomposed by sunlight, leading to the rapid colour change.
The development of the device received initial funding and support from Scottish Enterprise’s Proof of Concept Programme, which is partly funded by the European Union.
Smartsun has been approved by Skcin, the Karen Clifford Skin Cancer Charity and a donation will be made to the charity from each sale.