The weather outside will soon be warming up, which means time to hit the beach and the park. While being out in the heat is fun, too much sun exposure is bad; one in five Americans get skin cancer at some point of their lives, after all.
Comfable's QSun, available on Kickstarter for $49, is designed to help people be safer in the sun. We've seen a rise in wearables focused specifically on UV index, especially in the form of temporary tattoos, but Comfable co-founder Neda Ghazi is hoping that QSun can be a more robust solution.
The small device, which looks a lot like a Misfit Shine 2, can be clipped onto your person, purse or what-have-you. It detects UV exposure and then uses its five LED dots to indicate the UV index, a measurement of how powerful ultraviolet radiation emanating from the sun is. All you have to do is give the QSun a shake and it'll let you know the UV index. For example, one lit dot means a low UV index, while all five dots lit up is more extreme.
The QSun also keeps track of how long you have out in the sun before you start to burn. When your time is up, the device will rumble and let you know to get your butt to some shade or, preferably, the AC-cooled indoors. Before you do that though, you'll need to tell the companion app what skin type you have, Ghazi says.
That's great if your dermatologist has already told you your skin type, but if they haven't, QSun has a brief questionnaire in the app you can use to get the answer.
Of course, if you have lighter skin then you have lower tolerance for sunlight exposure. If you have darker skin, you have higher tolerance. The QSun's AI takes this into account when it determines your time until skin burn. It will also readjust that time should you head indoors or get some shade. If you happen to put on sunscreen, you just have to give the QSun two shakes to let it know, and it'll take that into consideration.
The companion app is where most of the magic happens, and Ghazi says it's added several features in the hope of becoming a one-stop shop for skin care. You can use the app to find out which sunscreen will work best for you, and there's even a skin analyser that lets you know your skin health.
The pro version of the QSun app, which requires a $20 annual subscription, will also pull in step count data from Apple Health and Google Fit to let you know how much of your daily activity was spent in safe UV exposure. That way you can get a better sense of how the sun affects your daily life.
Other UV sensors, like LogicInk and L'Oreal's UV Sense, also track how much sun exposure you have, but neither of them partner UV index scores with step counts, or recommend how much sunscreen you may need.
Finally, the Pro subscription will also let you track your Vitamin D intake, from the sun, food and supplements.
A question even the sun god Ra would struggle with. Comfable has been in the crowdfunding game before, with the QTemp, the precursor device to the QSun. That device was more of wedge that you kept on your keys or out on your desk or in your wallet.
User feedback from that device led Comfable to come up with the second generation QSun, Ghazi says. She says many of QTemp's users have been moving over to the QSun Kickstarter, which is just $311 shy of its goal at the time of writing.
As for where the money is going, the Canadian government issued a grant that helped fund much of Comfable's R&D, so the Kickstarter money is being funneled directly into manufacturing the device.
It's hard not to see the QSun as a good value, especially on Kickstarter where it can be picked up for $49 instead of the regular $99. Plus, Kickstarter backers get the $20 app subscription for free. That's enough to make the QSun an impulse back, especially if you're the type who spends most of their time outdoors.