UVA+B SunFriend

Karin Edgett, Washington, DC, and Shahid
Aslam, Greenbelt, MD

About 90% of non-melanoma and 65% of melanoma skin cancers are associated with ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the Sun. About 700,000 new cases are diagnosed each year, and the numbers are rising despite the increased use of sunscreen. However, the good properties of vitamin D from sun exposure need to be maintained.

The UVA+B SunFriend©, featuring NASA UV sensor technology, provides health-conscious individuals with an effective and inexpensive UVA and UVB monitoring aid to receiving healthier sun exposure. Current products and technology are based on estimated time exposures. None of these use actual UVA and UVB dose detection.

“It is our hope that this product can be easily used by all people who are interested in maintaining healthy sun exposure while monitoring their UV exposure to reduce the incidence of melanoma. The name UVA+B SunFriend reveals our underlying mission to keep the Sun as our friend, as an appropriate amount of sun gives us healthy forms of life-sustaining vitamin D.”

Novel UV sensors based on wide bandgap semiconductors can be integrated into a range of consumer items. Such a device will register a maximum allowable dose of UV radiation during a 24-hour period. This inexpensive sensitive detector will detect UVB (290-320 nm) and UVA (320-400 nm) radiation.

The popular sport wristband made famous by Lance Armstrong provides an opportunity for the first consumer product. It can be produced inexpensively with ecofriendly materials. Features embedded into the wristband include a NASA-designed miniature UVA-B sensor, four miniature lenses to detect light from any direction, solar flake technology to provide continual power even in lowest light, and warning LED lights or display that reveal levels of UVA and UVB exposure. Measuring system and colors will be coordinated with the Global UV Index Warning System. Green will be good or low exposure, yellow an acceptable level, orange indicating it’s time to leave the Sun, and red will indicate danger, or overexposure. Other features include selector buttons for skin sensitivity and SPF sunscreen application, fiber-optic pipe light, and eco-friendly band materials to provide a safe, waterproof encasement. Millions of people will use the UVA+B SunFriend as a vital step toward reducing over-exposure to UV radiation, and to reduce the amount of skin cancers and other sun-related problems.

For more information, visit http://contest.techbriefs.com/component/content/article/1501 .

Honorable Mentions

Instant Mount Bicycle Brake Light

John Craig, Englewood, CO

LucidBrake™ is an instantmount bicycle brake light that uses a miniature accelerometer and microcontroller chips, with algorithms to accommodate bumps, slopes, and even a variable mounting angle. The brake light automatically adjusts for these conditions to provide a very bright, reliable indication of deceleration. It also provides a high-visibility LED blinking light when not braking.

The light attaches to the bicycle with no wiring, and no complicated attachment to the bicycle’s mechanical brake system. Unlike products that require tighter integration with the original bicycle manufacturing process, LucidBrake can be marketed directly both to consumers and manufacturers.

For more information, visit http://contest.techbriefs.com/component/content/article/1306 .

BioClean Dishwasher

Brian Salter, Glendale, CA

The BioClean Dishwasher uses 10% of the water and less than 15% of the energy of conventional dishwashers by using a proprietary blend of cellulase enzymes and bacteria complexes to completely dissolve food material. It then rinses the dishes in superheated water for a clean, sterile finish. The user adds a fresh BioClean Tablet to the dishwasher each week; the unit uses no soap.

Dirty dishes are placed in the upper rack, which is lowered into the BioClean solution for 20 to 45 minutes. During the soak, the BioClean Tablet dissolves food or grease left on the items. After the soak, the rack is raised, and the dishes are rinsed by superheated water, which is heated by an inline heater on-demand. A 30-second rinse completes the process.

For more information, visit http://contest.techbriefs.com/component/content/article/1973 .

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the November, 2011 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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