A new gadget called QTemp developed by University of Toronto researchers acts as a personal, tiny weather station. Paired with your smartphone, the wearable device lets you know the current temperature and UV levels exactly where you are. What the companion app does with that data is very useful. It lets users know how long they can stay in the sun before causing skin damage or burning.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer and its estimated that 1 in 5 Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetime and 1 in 7 Canadians will be diagnosed.
“We wanted to create a gadget that was easy to use but still had a positive impact on people’s lives,” said Neda Ghazi, the chief operating officer of the company that makes QTemp.
Users select their skin type and their environment in the app -- urban areas, snow, green space, water and sand all reflect UV and increase exposure.-- and it calculates the amount of time that the person can stay in the sun before burning based on the weather information detected by the device.
The app suggests an SPF and adjusts the length of time if you're wearing sunscreen. The device continually measures UV and temperature and adjusts the time limit accordingly via Bluetooth. An alarm will go off when you need to reapply sunscreen and when it's time to head indoors.
The app also lets you participate in a weather map where users can submit the weather conditions of their immediate surroundings and include a photo, creating an accurate picture of real-time weather in an area. If you're not interested in doing that, all of your data will remain private.
The small device can be worn on a key ring, belt, bra or in your pocket, just make sure it's facing the source of UV when gathering measurements.
The QTemp is on Kickstarter now and a pledge of $25 or more will get you a first-run of the wearable. You can choose between two versions depending on whether you're an Android or iOS user. The devices are expected to reach users in February 2016.