UV-Bodyguard Tracks and Monitors Sun Exposure
Tom Spendlove posted on July 08, 2019 |
Turtle shaped UV monitor tells you when your child has exceeded daily radiation limits.

When Annette Barth and Julian Meye-Arnek had a child, keeping her safe was one of their main goals. Annette was sensitive to the sun and burns became worse as time passed. They wanted to be able to maximize their time outdoors while minimizing the risk that their daughter would develop sun related skin issues in her lifetime. The overall project idea was measuring UV rays and comparing that data to healthy amounts of radiation. The pair has built the UV-Bodyguard system to measure UV rays, and are running a Kickstarter campaign to fund the first injection molds.

The UV-Bodyguard is a turtle shaped sensor that can attach to backpacks or bike helmets, working with the UV-B app through Bluetooth. The user enters the Sun Protection Factor and then measures the UV exposure currently hitting the sensor. A vibration or sound alerts the user when overall sun exposure has passed recommended daily levels. The prototype is around 4 centimeters in diameter and 1.5 centimeter thick, with a weight of “just a few grams”. A USB rechargeable battery is in the system and can be changed by the user. A week of use is expected after one charging cycle.

Beyond the product design aspects the campaign page and product webpage are full of information about sun exposure and its effects on our skin. The amount of safe sun exposure depends on many things including skin type, the type of biome you’re in, how high you are above sea level, time of day and season, weather conditions, and whether you’re in bright sun or shadow. Sun exposure is a cumulative daily total, and testing done by the group takes into account the wide scatter and shifting intensity of the UV rays. The page does recommend that the turtle is attached somewhere that will be exposed to the sun a majority of the time.

UV-Bodyguard is simple on the surface, pairing sensors and a microcontroller to an app. The goal of minimizing sun exposure and damage, and the work done inside the app along with the science done to track cumulative sun time is impressive. UV-Bodyguard is definitely in the prototype and testing phase, but I’m eager to see what this project looks like in a year. After a week in the sun a device to understand UV exposure seems like a great idea for my family and friends. The campaign is still working to meet its funding goal and ends on August 16, 2019.

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