Wearable UV Sensors with Active Ink
Professor Vipul Bansal and his research team from the RMIT made a major advance in the field of monitoring UV rays. By developing a special active ink, they were able to build wearable sensors, displaying the wearer’s sun exposure and therefore helps to protect the skin from damage.
A team of researchers from the RMIT University in Australia has developed a very special ultraviolet active ink. It changes colour when exposed to UV rays and can therefore be used to print wearable disposable wrist-bands able to monitor sun activities.
Ink Against Vitamin D Deficiency
The story behind the development of this innovative ink is quite surprising one. Professor Vipul Bansal, leader of the research team, came up with the idea, because he has health issues related to Vitamin D deficiency, himself. This is why invention he aimed to enable people to measure their personal sun exposure levels through the day with an accurate and simple tool.
“We can print our ink on any paper-like surface to produce cheap wearable sensors in the form of wrist-bands, head bands or stickers for example,”he said.
As humans need the sun to maintain healthy doses of Vitamin D, excessive exposure can cause sunburn, skin cancer, blindness and other health problems. For people with Vitamin D deficiency, sun allergies and other sun-related problems, it’s even more difficult to get the right amount of sun. For an ideal individual sun management it is essential to know the personal classification from type I to VI. But as the UV index only indicates the amount of UV-rays a skin type can absorb before damage occurs, an individual measurement tool is highly needed.
“We are excited that our UV sensor technology allows the production of personalised sensors that can be matched to the specific needs of a particular individual,”said Bansal.
“The low cost and child-friendly design of these UV sensors will facilitate their use as educational materials to increase awareness around sun safety.”
Currently, four smiley faces are printed on the wristband. With increasing time in the sun, the faces start lightning up one after another until the wearer approaches his maximum-allowed dose of UV-rays. The four smileys represent 25, 50, 75 and 100 percent of the daily allowed sun dose.
Inked UV Sensors for Many Purposes
In addition to the enormous advantages for human health care, the technology can be transferred to other sectors, too. As UV-rays do not only damage human skin but many industrial and consumer products over time, the monitoring tool could be used in these sectors, too. This could help to improve the safety and reliability of a range of items, including civil and military vehicles.