With the success of wearable tech for fitness trackers having been solidly established more companies are looking to develop products in that genre. The latest comes in the form of wearable tech that can monitor your exposure to UV rays. If it takes off there is a potential that the number of skin cancer diagnoses may fall. That would be a success on multiple levels. Health advocates, medical centers, insurance companies and everyday people could find that their risk of developing skin cancer could be greatly reduced with these devices.
What’s on the market now?
The two main contenders are the JUNE bracelet style UV detector and the sunZAP, which is designed as a pendant. Both use similar photovoltaic cells to record sun exposure that is then compared to the profile information the user has submitted. That user information contains skin type, eye color, hair color and lifestyle habit information. The program then calculates the level of sun exposure and Advises the person to not only apply sunscreen but what SPF to use.
Why do they work?
What the activity trackers have shown is that direct behavioral change training is possible with most people when they are used. The most successful component of the trackers has been the pedometers, which work using simple reminders. This might translate into great success for these “sun detectors.” Not everyone needs the kind of monitoring that world class athletes do. What most people need are interactive devices that prompt them to do what they already know should be done. The only downfall of the current models is the prompting for action is entirely dependent on the wearing remembering to check the device. That may and may not work for different people.
Other options that are more affordable
Not all the SPF tech will have a high price tag. There are several products available now that use photosensitive plastic coatings for measurement. The person wears them as a bracelet or pin and the item changes color as the exposure to UV light continues. While these items aren’t as personalized as the JUNE or sunZAP, they can greatly help people when to recognize they need more protection from the sun.
Will they integrate with the activity trackers?
If there is any reason not to get too excited about these UV monitors it is that they represent yet another item of tech to wear. At some point, someone is going to have to come up with a wearable brand that can do it all. Unless wearing multiple bracelets comes back as a popular fashion trend, chances are people won’t adopt all of these devices at once. That may be bad news for their health, but it is a realistic consideration. As it is, the market for behavioral training devices is taking off and these SPF prompters are just the latest offering.