Your Apple device could one day warn you against spending too long in the sun

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Apple Watch tan line
There's a difference between a healthy tan and sunburn. Your Apple device might soon know it.
Photo: Jjprojects/Flickr CC

Your iPhone can track your number of steps, and your Apple Watch can advise you if you have an erratic heart rate you might want to get checked out by a doctor. Could your friendly neighborhood Apple device also one day let you know if you need to put on more sunscreen, too?

That’s the basis for a new patent application published today. And rather than just being in response to sunny days on Apple’s Weather app, it’s actually pretty darn smart technology. Here’s how it might operate.

The patent application in question is described as a “Light-based Shielding Detection” system. It was originally filed in December 2017, and refers to a special “sunscreen detector” which could be used with a device such as an iPhone or Apple Watch. Apple’s patent notes how:

“One variation of a sunscreen detector comprises an illumination system that is configured to illuminate a target skin area with ultraviolet and/or infrared spectrum light and a sensor system that is configured to detect the amount of ultraviolet and/or infrared spectrum light that is reflected from the target skin area. The sunscreen detector is configured to analyze the data collected by the sensor system to generate a notification to the user as to whether they should apply sunscreen.”

In other words, Apple’s tech could somehow monitor your sunscreen and, based on  the readings of an ultraviolet and infrared detector, let you know when there are patches of skin which have been exposed and not properly detected.

Quite how this would function from a hardware perspective isn’t clear, although the notifications could be sent via your mobile device. Perhaps an ultraviolet and infrared detector is something Apple could work to build into its proposed ARKit augmented reality headset.

Here’s a look at how people appear in ultraviolet, potentially warning them against spending too long in the sun.

While we doubt we’ll see this any time soon from Apple, with the company’s interest in smart sensors for monitoring health, we can totally picture this being something the company is interested in.

Source: UPSPTO

Via: Apple Insider