How Smart Swimsuits Can Help Prevent Your Next Sunburn
A new line of bikinis and towels makes it easier for all of us to avoid one of the worst parts of summer.
image via (cc) flickr user amyashcraft
Imagine this: You’re at the beach having fun with friends. There’s sand, surf, perhaps a cooler with some drinks to help you pass the time…. Suddenly you wake up, realize you’d fallen asleep under the hot July sun, and are starting to turn a shade of red usually reserved for crustaceans soaked in butter. You spend the next week hobbling around in excruciating pain, and trying not to be grossed out by the sheets of skin you can now pull off your burnt shoulders.
Not such an implausible scenario, is it? In fact, it’s one which countless people spend their summers building up to, or looking back at with regret—nothing ruins a perfectly good summer vacation like a brutal sunburn. And while sunscreen can be your first, and best, line of defense against the harmful effects of overexposure, it’s only as effective as the person applying it allows it to be. Forget to reapply during a long day in the sun? Tough, pal. That’s all on you.
To help make sure that no one lets sunscreen slip their mind, French beachwear company Spinali Design has come up with a line of high-tech swimsuits and towels that help remind those in or on them when it’s time to reapply. The suits and towels are embedded with a waterproof sensor chip which measures time and duration of exposure to harmful ultra-violet light, and alerts the wearer (or a designated friend) via smartphone app when it’s time to add another layer of sunscreen, or get out of the sun altogether.
Currently the suits are only sold as bikinis, while the towels are advertised as “[b]oth for women and for men.” And while we’re not quite at a point yet where our wearables can actually apply the sunscreen on us themselves, Spinali’s fashion-forward tech innovation offers a glimpse (exciting for some, ominous for others) of what our wearable future might someday look like—a future in which our clothes don’t simply cover nakedness, but help us actively avoid harmful, imperceptible environmental factors before any lasting damage can take place.
Still, for those of us who’d rather not strap on a wearable swimsuit in order to remind us to put on sunblock just yet, there’s always Baz Luhrmann and The Chicago Tribune’s Mary Schmich: