Have you ever enjoyed a day in the sun with your family just to find yourself with a red, burning and itching skin the next day? Well, I have. More than once, despite using sunscreen.
What´s even worse: Small children cannot protect themselves, but they suffer heavily when they´ve experienced too much sun. According to dermatological research children can only stay safe in the sun for 5-10 minutes without sun protection, and around 4 hours with sunscreen LSF50. By the way: reapplying the same sunscreen several times a day will not prolong your time in the sun.
When our daughter was born, we had the idea to develop our UV-Bodyguard, in order to protect our little girl from too much sun and still enjoy outdoor family life as we did before.
How it works
The UV-Bodyguard is designed especially for children – that´s why we came up with a turtle. In combination with your smartphone, you get real-time Information about your current UV dose and how long you can stay in the sun. It can easily be attached to outdoor gear such as backpacks, hats, bike helmets in two ways: it comes with a Velcro strip and a rubber band system. So you are free to choose what fits best your needs.
Size is about 4cm x 1.5cm (height) - so it can´t be swallowed by children, weight is just a few grams. By the way: the final product will be a little smaller than the prototype you can see here.
The UV-Bodyguard is easy to use:
1) Attach the UV-Bodyguard to your backpack, your bike, your child´s hat… wherever you like.
2) Open the app and connect the UV-Bodyguard to your smartphone via Bluetooth
3) In the app, you enter the applied sunscreen (SPF) and start measuring. That´s it, now you can relax and enjoy the sun and your family adventures!
4) The UV-bodyguard continuously measures your UV dose and sends warnings (sound or vibration, as you choose) to your smartphone before it´s too late!
When opening the UV-Bodyguard app for your first time ever, you are asked to define a profile for each user. It will just contain information on your age and skin type (for children <5 years, default is skin type 1). You can add as many profiles as you like – for your big family Adventure! Good to know: we fully respect your privacy. Therefore we do not request you to create a user account on any kind of centralized infrastructure. All your data will be locally stored on your smartphone.
What´s Special About our UV-Bodyguard?
1) It´s reliable:
- The UV-Bodyguard continuously measures and sums up your individual UV exposure and actively warns you on time before you and your child get sunburned.
- We invested a lot of time and effort into testing: among others, we carried out a measurement campaign at the Environmental Research Station at Schneefernerhaus/Zugspitze in order to test and validate our UV-Bodyguard against sophisticated meteorological instruments.
2) It´s safe:
- The UV-Bodyguard is designed according to European toys´ regulations, so it´s safe even for the little ones.
3) It´s durable:
- The UV-Bodyguard has a USB-rechargeable battery, which can even be exchanged after its end of lifecycle.
Why measure UV dose at all?
That´s a very good question! Most people think: well, I use sunscreen SPF50 every two hours, so I can stay in the sun forever, right? Unfortunately that´s not so easy: reapplying the same sunscreen doesn´t extend your time in the sun.
How long you can stay in the sun depends:
- On your skin type (and of course the SPF of the sunscreen you´ve applied)
- Earth´s surface (sand, grass, or snow)
- Height above sea level (in the mountains or at the sea side)
- Time of the day and time of the year
- Weather conditions (cloudy, clear sky)
- If you are in the bright sunlight or shadow.
Environmental conditions are different every day, and everybody reacts differently to the sun. It is so difficult to estimate how much sun is too much sun. That´s where our UV-Bodyguard comes into play!
Annette is extremely sensitive of the sun, and it has gotten even worse over the years. Despite (and sometimes because of) using sunscreen. When our little daughter Maja was born, we wanted to protect her. And still enjoy an outdoor family life style together.
Julian is an atmospheric scientist, he has participated in scientific and practical works around UV-measurement, and so he knows a lot about UV. When diving deep into the issue, we realized how harmful UV rays can be. For example, did you know that 3 sunburns in childhood increase the risk of later developing skin cancer by factor 3-5?
That´s how we came up with the idea of our UV-Bodyguard. We started thinking how we could measure UV rays and compare it to the individual healthy UV dose. Along the way, we ran into quite a few difficulties, we had so many looong nights to work on problems, do some soldering, or do some programming. But we kept going, because we had the vision to change the way people look at their sun protection. And now we are here! It´s just the two of us, so we need your help to finance the injection mold via Kickstarter to bring the UV-Bodyguard on the market.
Together, let's take sun protection to the next level!
The Team behind ajuma
Annette + Julian founded ajuma in 2019. Julian is physicist and atmospheric scientist, so he is an expert on UV-measuring technologies. Annette holds an MBA and is highly experienced in product and innovation management. They are supported by Robert, a product designer, and Dirk, an electronic developer.
Testing Times: Our Prototype
Here you can see us testing our UV-Bodyguard out in the garden on a sunny summer day. We observe current UV strength, and show you how we measure UV dose in % (gauge = already consumed UV dose) and remaining time in the sun. We compare two profiles (child = skin type 1, mother = skin type 4) and assume that we didn´t use any sunscreen at all.
UV radiation scatters strongly and UV strength changes all the time (in our example, depending on surface such as grass, on moving of the grass, shadows from the trees, maybe clouds, and time of the day, to name just a few). That´s why our forecast takes into account current conditions for calculating the remaining time in the sun and constantly adapts to environmental conditions (and has to, otherwise measuring UV dose wouldn´t make much sense). Thus, the UV-Bodyguard helps you take the best steps towards enjoying sun in a healthy way!
Risks and challenges
We are still testing and validating the UV-Bodyguard at the Environmental Research Station Schneefernerhaus/Zugspitze in Germany against "real" meteorological Instruments. In order to achieve a good intercomparison, there is still a mile to go: Julian has been doing scientific calibration calculations with state-of-the-art atmosphere models. Among others, the outcome of these computations is used to identify unrealistic UV observations and to allow UV dose forcasting.
In the app, the most recent UV observations are indicated. This will help the user to identify unsuccessful measurements, e. g. when the UV bodyguard was accidently covered.
Environmental commitmentsVisit our Environmental Resources Center to learn how Kickstarter encourages sustainable practices.
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