Cambridge Consultants helps consumers sun safely

14 January 2015

Cambridge Consultants has developed a small and practical device that will help its users determine the right amount of sun exposure for their skin type in order to stay healthy. The Solitair device consists of a small sensing device that measures the user’s sun exposure and sends this information to a smartphone app that provides real time recommendations based on the user’s skin type, location and day-planning.  

Sun exposure
Experts agree that too much sunlight will have damaging effects on the human body, as it has an ageing effect on the skin and can cause skin cancer. However, as the sun plays a vital role in the body’s production of vitamin D, too little sunlight can also have damaging effects on the human body. A deficiency of this vitamin can cause increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment in older adults, severe asthma in children, and even cancer. In addition to this, sunlight plays a key role in preventing seasonal affective disorder.

In order to prevent a lack or excess of sun exposure, the right balance needs to be found. But how do you know which is the right amount of sun exposure for your particular skin type and lifestyle? In order to help consumers to stay safe in the sun, product design and development firm Cambridge Consultants has a personal high-tech guide to safe sun exposure: Solitair.

Cambridge Consultants - Sun Clip

The Solitair device consists of a smartphone app that is linked to a small sensing device* that the consumer can clip on a bag or wear as a brooch or hairclip. The user starts by taking an image of their skin, as pre-suntan level of pigment. The app analyses the image and combines it with the user’s schedule for the day, location and the weather forecast in order to recommend the user on optimum times in the sun with and without sunscreen with different SPF-protection levels. Throughout the day, the sensing device monitors the consumer’s actual sun exposure and provides real-time updates via the app and alerts the user when the recommended maximum time is nearing.

“People are worried about sun exposure because of possible skin damage, including premature ageing – but staying indoors is not the answer,” comments Peter Luebcke, Head of Personal Care at Cambridge Consultants, on the decision to develop the device. “We all need some sun exposure to lift our mood and avoid the health problems caused by vitamin D deficiency. So how do you know what’s right for you? Clearly the optimum amount of time in the sun will be different for a dark-skinned person in Norway or Canada compared with a fair-skinned person on the Equator. Solitair takes a lot of the guesswork out of staying safe in the sun.”

* The device is smaller than an average car key and is expected to have a bill of materials cost of around $5.