A monitor developed at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland, to help prevent over-exposure to the sun is set to go on the market as part of a new spinout company.
The device helps to indicate to users when they have been exposed to a certain amount of UV (ultra-violet) radiation by changing colour as the risk of over-exposure progresses, giving a visual warning of when it is time to get out of the sun.
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
Professor Andrew Mills and Dr Michael McFarlane, who are both responsible for the original invention and were previously with the University’s Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry, 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.
Mr 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.
Fiona Strang, Commercialisation Manager with the University of Strathclyde’s Research & Knowledge Exchange Services, said: “Strathclyde has a strong track record of developing technology which goes on to have a significant global impact- in health, engineering, technology and energy.
“The sunburn monitor is the latest example of this innovation. It will make a significant contribution to public health as an affordable, fashionable device which enables people to enjoy the benefits of the sun while at the same time keeping them alert to the risks of over- exposure.”
The monitor works by changing colour markedly, from yellow to pink, as the risks of sunburn increase. It operates through an acid-release agent which picks up ultraviolet light and a dye which 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.