SunFriend takes a different approach to wearable tech by helping you get the most out of the sun rather than monitor your activity, sleep or deliver smartphone notifications. The SunFriend features a sensor inside a rubber mould that measures UVA and UVB sun rays to help you increase your vitamin D intake.
The original SunFriend has been around for a while but we caught up with a new Bluetooth prototype version of the device at the Wearable Technology Show 2015 in London to see how the design has developed and what it will it mean for your next holiday in the sun.
The SunFriend's sensor is a circular disc that is around 20mm in diameter. On the original, the rubber surround features yellow triangles mimicking the sun in the centre and there are 11 LED lights within the sun that help show you how close you are to your sun limit. Each LED light represents 10 per cent and you can check the UVA, UVB and UVI rays using the buttons on the right-hand side.
On the left-hand side is a power button and a Skin Sensitivity button, which you will need to set when you first use the device. The prototype of the new model we saw didn't have the buttons working but they will be present on the final device and it will follow the same principal as the original but with a slightly simpler design, which is nicer and less childlike.
We asked how you know what your skin sensitivity is and the company told us that they recommend you set it around three or four and increase it if you don't go red, or decrease it if you do. The ultimate aim of the original and the new SunFriend is to allow you to get as much sun as possible and increase your vitamin D intake, without burning or getting any skin damage.
The new device, which SunFriend said would be tested this summer, adds Bluetooth and an accompanying app to the mix. The app enables you to tell the SunFriend which parts of your body are exposed to the sun, set your skin sensitivity and see your vitamin D optimisation. You'll be able to add up to five people on the app, so it sounds like it will be great for families, and you'll also be able to see how much sun you are accumulating each day.
There is a graph within the app that displays sun intake in yellow and vitamin D intake in orange so it's nice and easy to see where you are lacking or if you have had too much on a certain day.
The SunFriend, both the original and new, aren't the most beautiful devices but they are child-friendly in their design and we like the idea. UV sensors are nothing new and while they may not have taken off just yet, this device seems like a simple way to monitor sun exposure and make sure you get enough without getting burnt. Of course, we couldn't test it in an exhibition hall but we'd happily take one on our next summer holiday if it will stop that awful feeling of getting burnt and not being able to move without wincing.