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Health

You Got Burned! Wristband Warns Wearers of Impending Sunburn

DiscoblogBy Rachel CernanskyMarch 13, 2009 11:47 PM
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Prone to sunburn? Help may be on the way. Scotland researchers have developed a wristband that warns its users when they're about to get burned. The indicator changes color when exposed to potentially dangerous levels of UV rays, so as soon as it turns pink, a person knows to get out of the sun. Or not, and burn. The technology, which chief researcher Andrew Mills calls "intelligent ink," relies on a simple enough process: UV rays trigger a chemical reaction in the indicator, which contains an acid-sensitive dye that then causes the change in color. The band improves upon other UV-measuring devices because it gives a signal at the precise moment the sun is about to cause damage. It can also be adapted to different skin types/colors by adding alkali, which delays when the dye changes color. The researchers plan to develop the indicator, which right now can be worn as a wristband, into other wearable products or even clothing labels. Although a few questions remain about how the product will translate to the marketplace—will doctors prescribe custom-alkalized indicators based on your individual skin type? Will you buy the indicators from your local drugstore, like the right shade of foundation? Who knows—maybe they'll team up with Ray-Ban and offer a two-for-one suncare package. Related Content: DISCOVER: The Biology of . . . Sunscreen Discoblog: Female Spiders Attracted to Ultraviolet Bling

Image: Flickr / joelogon

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