SunFriend UVA+B Monitor

A wearable device to warn of both over- and underexposure to sunlight

Image: Hugh Threlfall

Wearable technology is the buzz concept of today. It’s nothing new, of course – Countess Koscowicz of Hungary wore the first wristwatch, a Patek Philippe, in 1876. But a lot of the gadgets being touted as wearable technology in this current furore are preposterous; the Wearable Technology Show in London this spring was infested with huge wristwatch mobile phones, all claiming to be the first and all looking like something from the imagination of a 1950s science-fiction-comic artist. The SunFriend UVA+B Monitor is a rare example of wearable technology that could save you, or more likely, given its Mickey Mouse aesthetic, your children, from skin cancer, and should therefore be taken very seriously. What I especially like about it is that it acknowledges the often-forgotten need for sunlight, as well as the danger of overexposure. SunFriend uses miniature UV sensors developed, it is claimed, as part of the US space programme and aims to help people get as much sunlight as is good for them, based on their skin colour and sensitivity, while avoiding the risk of burning. It reads your exposure all day, not just from direct sunlight, but from reflected surfaces and even any UV that finds its way indoors. It is also waterproof to 3m, so perfect for the beach, and is endorsed by the Vitamin D Council.