The Challenge

About 90% of nonmelanoma and 65% melanoma skin cancers are associated with ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. About 700,000 new cases are diagnosed each year, and the numbers are rising despite the increased use of sunscreen. However, the good properties of vitamin D, from sun exposure need to be maintained. We propose that the UVA+B SunFriend© featuring NASA UV sensor technology will provide health conscious individuals with an effective and inexpensive UVA and UVB monitoring aid to receiving healthier sun exposure.

Existing Technology

Current products and technology are based on estimated time exposures. None of them use actual UVA and UVB dose detection. Non-clinical devices use either a PMMA thin film or metal dyes, which exhibit reversible chemical reactions when exposed to UV radiation. These devices are not user friendly, cannot be integrated into small inexpensive user-friendly products, and the actual dose is hard to determine.


Novel UV sensors based on wide band gap semiconductors can be integrated into a range of consumer items. Such a device will register a maximum allowable dose of UV radiation during a 24-hour period. This inexpensive sensitive detector will detect UVB (290-320nm) and UVA (320-400nm) radiation.

Features include:

• Dose detection in UVB and UVA
• Sensor pixel size 1mmx1mm
• ASIC size 1mmx1mm
• High sensitivity
• Post processing of dose data available

Product Solution: The UVA+B SunFriend© Wrist Band

The popular sport wristband made famous by Lance Armstrong provides an opportunity for the first consumer product. It can be produced inexpensively with eco-friendly materials.

Features embedded into the wristband include:

• NASA designed miniature UVA-B sensor
• Four miniature lenses to detect light from any direction
• Solar flake technology to provide continual power even in lowest light
• Warning LED lights or display reveal levels of UVA and UVB exposure – measuring system and colors will be coordinated with the Global UV Index Warning System. Green will be good or low exposure, yellow an acceptable level, orange indicating it’s time to leave the sun, and red will indicate the danger, or over exposure.
• Selector buttons for skin sensitivity
• Selector buttons for SPF sun screen application
• Fiber optic pipe light
• Eco-friendly band materials provide a safe, waterproof encasement


Millions of people will use the UVA+B SunFriend© as a vital step toward reducing over-exposure to UV radiation and reduce the amounts of skin cancers and other sun related problems.

The UVA+B SunFriend© will be useful to the following groups:

• Medical community
• Families with children
• Sports enthusiasts
• Sun worshipers in general

Estimated costs:

• R&D $200K
• Marketing & PR $50K
• Initial product launch cost $12.95


  • 2011 Category Winner
  • 2011 Top 10 Most Popular


Voting is closed!


Health, Sensors, Solar, Sports,


Name: Karin Edgett

Type of entry: individual

Profession: entrepreneur/designer

Number of times previously entering contest:1

Karin's favorite design and analysis tools:
mathematica, math cad, photoshop, illustrator, origin 8, COMSOL

For managing CAD data Karin's company uses: SolidWorks PDMWorks

Karin's hobbies and activities:
health, squash, nutrition, yoga, hiking, quantum

Karin is inspired by:
what can make us healthier

Software used for this entry:

Patent status: pending