Summer time is a fraught period for those of us with pale skin. Sunburns are no fun, but they’re all to easy to come by when the sun is bright, the days are long, and it seems like a great idea to head to a warm beach for a few hours of catching some rays.
But even beyond the problems of getting sunburnt, there’s another risk that comes with sitting out in the sun too long: skin cancer. That’s where Brightly comes in. This new iPhone app was developed by Seattle-based contextual intelligence company ARO, and it’s designed to help people to manage their sun exposure.
Users give the app access to their location and set their skin tone, and it will track their exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays, and remind them with a push notification to get some shade and re-apply sunscreen. It uses the same sort of “quantified self” techniques that power devices like the Fitbit and Jawbone Up.
There are a lot of factors that affect someone’s UV exposure, like their altitude, and position on the globe, which means that it can be hard for people to gauge their own exposure. Brightly handles all of that for a person, so they don’t have to worry.
“Even the most educated and concerned can easily lose track of UV exposure while focused on other things – rushing to work, chasing after our kids,” ARO Medical Director Keira Barr said in a press release. “And when our routine changes, say we head to the mountains or take a tropical vacation, we may be unaware of how the UV exposure has changed in our new environment.”
In addition to the monitoring, the app has a number of achievements users can earn by protecting themselves from the sun. Through that system, Brightly encourages people to change their behavior in a number of ways, including applying sunscreen every day, and wearing a wide-brimmed hat out in the sun.
The app is a part of an ongoing trend in mobile development to create applications that take in life data and produce useful results. Both Google and Apple recently announced different tools for combining health data into one place on their respective mobile platforms, as companies like Nike, Fitbit, Jawbone and others move to create sensors that leverage a smartphone’s power to provide users with data about themselves.
ARO is no stranger to the quantified self space. The company, which is backed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, also created Saga, an app that allows users to track all the things they do on a day-to-day basis. Overheard, the company’s third app, makes it easy to share snippets of sound with other people.
Brightly is available for free on the iOS App Store.