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New wearable UV sensor will help prevent skin cancer

Photo: UV sensor will help prevent skin cancer
A stick-on sensor that detects when you have been exposed to too much UV sunlight could help lower Australia's high incidence of skin cancer.

Australian researchers have developed a new wearable sensor that tells you when you have been exposed to too much ultraviolet sunlight.

The simple paper-based UV sensor, to be unveiled at this week's International Nanomedicine Conference in Sydney, changes colour in the sun and could provide an affordable tool to help prevent deadly skin cancers.

Chemists from the Australian Centre for NanoMedicine at the University of NSW, who designed the the low-cost sensor, say it can be worn like stickers on the skin and uses food dyes that change colour after sun exposure.

More importantly the stick-on patches can be tuned to suit individual skin types.
Developer Parisa Sowti Khiabani from UNSW says they wanted to design technology that could help reduce Australia's high incidence of skin cancer.

"Australia has one of the highest incidence of skin cancer in the world, and too much exposure to ultraviolet light is the primary cause," says Mr Khiabani.

According to UNSW Professor Justin Gooding, the technology is ready for the commercial market.

"Its so simple it could be fabricated at home using an inkjet printer and tested in your backyard," he said.

Some of the world's top scientists and clinicians will be in Sydney from Monday to discuss the latest developments in nanomedicine, which is focused on developing technologies with specific medical applications aimed at finding better ways to monitor and treat diseases.

Among the speakers at this year's nanomedicine conference will be former Australian of the Year and plastic surgeon, Professor Fiona Wood who worked with survivors of the Bali bombings.

Prof Wood will discuss ways that nanotechnology can be used to engineer tissue and treat serious burns and other skin injuries.


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