L’Oréal has unveiled the world’s first battery-free wearable electronic UV sensor at CES (formerly the Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas.

Less than two millimetres thick and nine millimetres in diameter, UV Sense is designed to be worn for up to two weeks on the thumbnail – and can store up to three months of data.

Powered by the user’s mobile phone and activated by UVA and UVB rays, UV Sense has an accompanying mobile app which translates and transfers data from the sensor and then delivers “consumer-friendly information detailing when the wearer should be mindful of UV exposure”.

The unveiling of UV sense follows the company’s launch of My UV Patch, the first-ever stretchable skin sensor designed to monitor UV exposure, at the same show in 2016.

Since then L’Oréal  has distributed more than one million patches free of charge under its La Roche-Posay brand to consumers in 37 countries to encourage sun safe behaviours.

According to L’Oréal, My UV Patch users change their behaviours – with 34 percent applying sunscreen more often and 37 percent trying to stay in the shade more frequently – but they want a smaller wearable with longer wear and real-time data.

Building on the design of the original patch, L’Oréal therefore created UV Sense based on research in conjunction with MC10, a leading wearable technology company, and Professor John Rogers at Northwestern University who has “a portfolio of intellectual property and innovation around flexible, stretchable electronics”.

Guive Balooch, global vice president of L’Oréal’s Technology Incubator, says that overexposure to UV rays is a top health and beauty concern of consumers worldwide.

“With this knowledge, we set out to create something that blends problem-solving technology with human-centered design to reach even more consumers who require additional information about their UV exposure.

“Whenever we develop a new technology, our goal is to make an enormous global impact by enhancing consumers’ lives.”

Balooch added that “the adoption of wearable nail art accessories is on the rise” with a more than 65 percent increase in nail art trends over the last five years.

“Our innovation taps into this growing trend, while illustrating our deep commitment to sun safe behaviour and protection,” he said.

UV Sense will be available on a limited basis in the US for the 2018 summer season with a global launch following in 2019.

Although final pricing has not been released, the device is expected to retail for less than US$100.