Worlds smallest wearable to detect UV rays helps prevent skin cancer

A Northwestern Engineering professor, working in conjunction with the global beauty company L’Oréal, has developed the smallest wearable device in the world. The wafer thin and feather light sensor can fit on a fingernail and measures a person’s exposure to UV light from the sun.

Known as UV Sense, the solar powered waterproof device is less than 2 mm thick, 9 mm in diameter. It contains no battery or moving parts, and is claimed to incorporate the world’s most accurate UV dosimeter. The device works when light passes through a window in the sensor and strikes a millimeter scale semiconductor photodetector.

To get a reading from it, the user just have to run an app on their smartphone, then swipe the phone over the NFC enabled device. The My Skin Track UVs companion app will tell them whether they’ve exceeded safe limits for UVA and UVB exposure. The device can store up to three months of users exposure data.

UV Sense was unveiled this week at CES in Las Vegas. It will be available on a limited basis in the US this summer, followed by a global launch in early 2022. Rogers believes the technology his team developed will have other applications that can help consumers better monitor their health and will be helpful in preventing skin cancer.

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