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A wearable sunburn sensor !

Invention Number: 
A patch for effective UV & sun protection. The "smart" paper-based patch that changes colour in sunlight could provide an affordable tool to help prevent sunburn and deadly skin cancers. This could be the best sunburn prevention ever !

It's well known that over exposure to UV radiation (UVR) can have very harmful effects and lead to melanoma, other skin cancers and even eye damage. About 90% of non-melanoma skin cancers are linked with overexposure to UVR from the sun!

With sunburn being the main cause of skin cancer, researchers have developed a paper-based sensor to help people stay safe when outdoors.  

The invention

A paper patch to warn people to get out of the sun, or to apply more sunscreen. 

The novel disposable paper-based wearable UV sensor is so simple to use. When enough UV radiation hits the paper sensor, that resembles a small bandaid in apearance, the dye on the paper changes colour and warns people to be sun safe and apply more sunscreen, because the time it takes to get sunburnt depends on many factors and it's not always easy to tell when to seek shade. The paper based sensor even takes into account different Sun Protection Factors (SPFs) of sunscreens that are applied on the skin and people's varying skin tones.   

It's simple, single use and dispososable and can help people stay sun safe especially outdoor workers, parents and children as it simply informs them that it's time to reapply sunscreen or reduce their exposure to UV radiation.

As UV radiation damage is permanent and often irreversible, this invention could possibly be the best UV and sunburn prevention ever.   

Key Benefits

  • Wearable paper-based sensor for monitoring sun exposure
  • Ready for commercial development
  • Easy to manufacture
  • Non-toxic, FDA approved materials
  • Single use, simple to use patch
  • Real time monitoring
  • No high-tech gadgets to operate
  • Tailored to different skin types 
  • Can reduce risk of skin cancer 
  • Massive market potential: suitable for personal consumer market and businesses, for outdoor workers who have high risk of exposure to UV radiation

Potential Applications 

  • Healthcare: real time UV monitoring and prevention for children and adults
  • Sun tanning applications (negative test for safety threshold of UV exposure)
  • Proof of UV Light Steralization

Recent news articles 

From wearable sunburn sensors and radical environmental justice, to predicting deluge patterns and stopping HIV in its tracks, UNSW's inspiring young researchers are changing the face of the city.

The Opportunity

UNSW is seeking a partner to license this technology or to work with the researchers to further develop this technology. An Australian provisional patent has been filed (No. 2016900761) in March 2016. 

Researcher and Technical Details 

Key Publications 

Paper-Based Sensor for Monitoring Sun Exposure