Mobile app to measure UV rays

Closeup of male hands using a smart phone, nature background.

Fiona Rotherham


(Australian Associated Press)

A New Zealand startup will launch a mobile app this summer that allows people to measure UV levels and whether they need to apply sunscreen.

Auckland University student Ming Cheuk and former student Daniel Xu, co-founders of Spark 64, trialled their UV Lens invention last summer in 100 kindergartens around the country in a joint venture with sunscreen manufacturer Banana Boat.

A sensor in the centres’ playgrounds measured and wirelessly sent data about UV levels to the smartphones of teachers, who could then involve the children in learning about the risks of spending too much time in the sun.

Mr Cheuk said the UV Lens is a mobile application that was fed data from localised ground sensors and other satellite information from around the world.

The mobile app would allow people with smartphones to know what the UV levels were in their local area, forecast the likely levels over the next two days, and also include what protection certain skin types would typically need at those levels, he said.

“We want people to be able to quickly see what the levels of UV are and what protection they’d need, not just the raw data,” he said.

While the app itself would be free, consumers would be charged for the premium features such as forecasting.

Mr Cheuk said they hope to have it in market by November in time for the New Zealand summer and eventually wanted to take the app global, depending on the outcome of negotiations with sunscreen companies which may back the product.

Mr Xu and Mr Cheuk own one third each share of Spark 64 while director Richard McLean, who has provided business advice, owns the remaining 33 per cent.


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