Scientists have invented an app that tells people when to cover up.
HappySun, developed partly by the European Space Agency in Harwell, Oxon, gives real-time readings for dangerous ultraviolet light levels.In the UK, more than eight in 10 cases of melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, could be prevented by reducing exposure to them. And Cancer Research UK says UV radiation from the sun is the main avoidable risk factor for the disease.Emilio Simeone, the app’s developer, said: “We want to make people safe, and using your phone as a way of checking your UV exposure is sensible.
“Your exposure to UV light changes every minute of the day because clouds block the rays. “This way you can tell how long in the sun is safe for you and your family.”
The app works by measuring exactly how much sun exposure people’s skin can take before it starts to burn. It tracks the world’s weather satellites to measure how much UV radiation your skin is absorbing at any global location. The app also prompts users to answer a series of questions to determine which skin type they have.
It combines all the information to give personalised advice. A warning alarm then sounds when it is time to get out of the sun. HappySun is free and available through the Apple and Android app stores, or on the internet at happysun.co.uk.