In December 2017, Apple lodged a patent application in the USA for a sun protection quality detection system. A sensor is used to measure the quality of coverage by any sunscreens that have been applied and then informs the user of what measures to take to better protect their skin. In time, the tool could be integrated into the iPhone and the Apple Watch.
The US Patent Office published an application on 19 July for a sun protection detection system that was submitted by Apple on 18 December. The authorities have not yet validated the patent, according to MobiHealthNews. In the long term, the system could be fitted to the iPhone and the Apple Watch, helping users to avoid dangerous exposure to the sun.
Improving sun protection
The UV protection calculator uses a sensor which detects the intensity of UV rays reflected by the skin, since creams, oils and other sun protection products work by reflecting the rays. By determining the degree of reflection, it is possible to evaluate the quality of protection of the epidermis and to use that to tell the wearer/user to take the necessary measures to protect themselves better.
"The ultraviolet-infra-red spectrometer can act as a sun protection detector that is configured to identify the coverage of sunscreens on the surfaces of the skin of the user or on a subject exposed to the sun," the Apple patent request stated. It could therefore be used to "provide information relating to any parts of the body which might potentially be at a higher risk of exposure to UV rays".
"The sun protection detector can be configured to show zones or entire parts of the body where protection is absent or insufficient," the document continues. "The detector can provide the user with notifications or instructions as to the parts where sun cream should be applied or added and/or the quantity to be applied and how often."
A sector that is being explored
The patent application does not necessarily mean that Apple will definitely use the new system in its future devices and accessories. What it does demonstrate however is that the company is exploring the possibility of offering this type of functionality to its clients.
If the US tech giant did decide to push forward with the sun protection detector, it could be fitted to a future version of the Apple Watch, with the sensor placed in a specific location on the device. "The detection module could be placed in a portable multi-functional device such as a smartphone or watch, for example on the wristband, but not necessarily there either," Apple said in the application.
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