The smart contact lens changes color when exposed to harmful UV light
Scientists create a smart contact lens that changes color when exposed to UV light to track sun exposure and tells you when it's time to apply sunscreen
- Chemists have developed color-changing dyes that can adhere to wearables
- Color changes determine the levels of exposure to ultraviolet rays, which cause cancer.
- The dye can be attached to lenses and bracelets or even added to tattoo inks
- The scientists also developed an application that analyzes color changes and offers personalized UV protection tips based on the user's skin types.
Smart contact lenses that change color when exposed to sunlight could help beach lovers better determine when to look for shade or reapply sunscreen.
European researchers have developed tiny labels containing dyes that change color when exposed to two types of ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight.
UV-sensitive labels can be integrated into portable devices, skin patches, textiles or contact lenses, and the dye can even be added to tattoo inks.
The team says that the amount of sun exposure is determined by these dyes with an accuracy of 95 percent.
A smartphone application with a camera algorithm can perform an analysis of color changes to closely monitor UV exposure and take into account skin types.
Portable devices with color-changing dye labels attached: a) bracelet b) textile patch c) transparent skin patch d) sunglasses e) tattoo ink f) contact lenses
"Current protection methods, such as sunscreens, UV weakening or UV-impermeable clothing, offer sufficient protection against UV radiation," the researchers write. Advanced optical materials.
"However, these approaches do not provide any information on the threshold of UV radiation that damages the epidermis."
Exposure to sunlight for prolonged periods can cause health problems, such as sunburn, premature skin aging and skin cancer caused by ultraviolet light.
Commercial sunscreens provide adequate protection against ultraviolet radiation, but the inability to determine exposure to ultraviolet light means that we can be casual in our approach to applying sunscreen.
Ultraviolet rays, which are primarily responsible for skin damage, are formed by waves that are shorter than that of visible light.
UV radiation is present in sunlight and constitutes approximately 10 percent of the total electromagnetic radiation emission from the sun.
WHAT IS UV RADIATION?
UV radiation is part of the natural energy produced by the sun.
In the electromagnetic spectrum, UV light has shorter wavelengths than visible light, so your eyes cannot see UV rays, but your skin can feel them.
Two types of UV light have been shown to contribute to the risk of skin cancer:
UV A (UVA) has a longer wavelength and is associated with skin aging.
UV B (UVB) has a shorter wavelength and is associated with skin burns.
Unprotected exposure to UVA and UVB rays damages the DNA in skin cells, causing genetic defects or mutations that can cause skin cancer.
These rays can also cause eye damage, including cataracts and eyelid cancers.
Tanning beds also emit UV radiation.
Source: The Skin Cancer Foundation
UV rays can be divided into three subcategories of slightly different wavelengths: UVA (wavelength from 315 to 400 nanometers), UVB (280 to 315 nm) and UVC (100 to 280 nm).
While UVC rays are completely absorbed by the Earth's ozone layer, UVA and UVB rays are filtered and contribute in a proven way to skin cancer in humans.
Therefore, the research team, led by researchers from the Technical University of Munich, focused on the development of dyes that would focus on the doses of UVA and UVB radiation.
They used a combination of UV-sensitive oxidant and indicator dyes that can be attached to wearables.
Upon exposure to UV radiation, a photosensitive agent in the dye triggers a chemical reaction that causes a color change.
The team tested a variety of dye samples, which went from white to blue or purple, from yellow to green and from yellow to pink under UV radiation.
The extent of the color change varies according to the different intensities and the change in duration, providing a visual color chart of the exposure and duration of UV rays.
Then, these dyes were inserted into skin patches, textiles, bracelets, contact lenses and tattoo inks and executed without any electronic components to monitor the UV radiation received by the user.
When the dyes are applied to contact lenses or sunglasses, the user may feel a color change in their visual field when the UV exposure threshold is exceeded.
Display the menus of the associated application & # 39; UV Guardian & # 39; which provides personalized recommendations regarding UV protection based on skin types and uses a camera algorithm to analyze changes in the dye label of a smartphone photo
The researchers also described a concept for a smartphone application that provides a deeper evaluation of the color change of UV dye labels.
A camera algorithm in the application is coded to automatically perform color analysis and hidden data in UV dose values.
The application's home screen also includes recommended protection methods based on skin type and scan history.
Skin types can also determine the user's threshold for UV radiation damage, offering a more personalized skin protection option.
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