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No need to wait for your skin to blister before you realize it’s time to retreat into the shade. Scientists from the University of Strathclyde have invented an ultraviolet-ray-detecting wristband that changes color with prolonged exposure to the sun. Designed to provide a visual warning that no amount of clock-watching can match, the monitor works through an acid-release agent that gradually breaks down in the presence of UV radiation. The agent, in turn, triggers a pH-sensitive dye, which responds by turning from yellow to pink.

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Developed with funding from Scottish Enterprise’s Proof of Concept Programme, which is supported in part by the European Union, the technology has attracted the attention of Swedish company Intellego Technologies.

Sweden’s Intellego Enterprises aims to have the wristband available in spring 2013.

“We are very excited about the UV dosimeter technology and we look forward to developing it further and commercializing it,” says Claes Lindahl, the company’s founder, who aims to have the wristband available in spring 2013. “There is a substantial need out in the market for a functional UV dosimeter and we look forward to continuing the process in collaboration with the University of Strathclyde.”

Conventional wisdom holds that sun exposure can increase the risk of skin cancer. Malignant melanoma, its most lethal form, had 200,000 new cases worldwide in 2008, according to Cancer Research U.K..

+ Press Release

+ University of Strathclyde