Sun4Health addresses the most important open issues related to solar light impacts on human health. Other devices and mobile apps available do not match the actual needs of market and end-users. Indeed, they address only UV radiation monitoring with limited performances, being focused just on sunburn avoidance with many drawbacks: users should direct the sensor toward the sun continually for a reliable sun exposure control or other passive systems work effectively for a single body part only, being unable to notify users with an alert for avoiding sunburns. The new Sun4Health solution allows the UV radiation dose control in all body areas simultaneously, supporting sunburn avoidance in the most exposed ones also by alert notifications. Another innovation is that both the smartphone and the connected wearable sensor could be also unexposed to sunlight as the real-time satellite data are fully exploited for radiation monitoring. Besides, Sun4Health introduces a new way to manage sun exposure. It faces also other effects of solar radiation by monitoring several selective spectral regions, such as the sun induced Vitamin D and the UVA & NIR induced skin photo-ageing, allowing the best personalised benefits / risks balancing for different end-users (e.g. children, outdoor workers).
Users and their needs
The key user needs addressed by the project both for end-users (people that will use the app for personal healthcare services) and for customers (companies involved in the product with a B2B scheme or paying for a related service such as Business Intelligence) are:
- providing innovative healthcare services to end-users, fully exploiting global EO and geo-referenced satellite data, coupling them with wearable sensors technology to provide end-users unprecedented user experience;
- providing a decision support system for the end-users as a “Digital Sunlight Healthcare Assistant“, delivering highly personalized and actionable information on a daily basis about solar radiation exposure and allowing for personal dosimetry control;
- providing to Corporate customers, big data analytics and business intelligence tools for the best marketing strategy of their products.
The Sun4Health solutions address diversified markets of significant size (multi-billions). The key customers belong essentially to the Health & Wellness related sector in all the different areas involving outdoor activities.
In order of priority for Sun4Health products they are:
- B2B Pharma sun care & nutritional supplements - Retail & Manufacturing sector
- B2B Baby Care - Healthcare devices Retail & Manufacturing sector
- B2B Fashion - Retail & Manufacturing sector
The Sun4Health project is supported by the following users who will be providing in-kind contribution in term of support for specifications, testing and commercial feedbacks:
- Public Health England (UK);
- ACM - Association Against Melanoma (Italy);
- NUXE dermocosmetics (France);
- Phoenix / Long Life nutritional supplements (Italy);
- Magia/LOCMAN Eyewear (Italy);
- Artsana/Chicco (Italy);
- IMS Health - big data analytics healthcare services (USA).
Service/ system concept
Sun4Health combines the Earth Observation satellites measurements and the exploitation of specific wearable sensors to allow accurate, reliable, personalised and real-time information about the solar radiation experienced by the end-user in any part of his body, discriminating the different benefits and health risks.
Devices and apps currently available do not answer to the needs of the market, as they address only the monitoring of UV radiation with limited performances and they are focused on sunburn avoidance with many drawbacks: users should direct the sensor toward the sun continually for a reliable sun exposure control or other passive systems work effectively for a single body part only, being unable to notify users with an alert for avoiding sunburns. The new Sun4Health solution will allow the UV dose control in all the body areas simultaneously, supporting sunburn avoidance in the most exposed ones also by alert notifications.
The Sun4Health system concept and method is patent pending.
Space Added Value
Sun4Health exploits two space assets: Satellite Earth Observation and Satellite Navigation.
Earth Observation satellites are used to retrieve the solar irradiance at ground (especially geostationary satellites) in real–time. The solar irradiance is measured exploiting atmospheric parameters obtained by EO-based Copernicus web services as well as by dedicated Flyby’s internal processing algorithms and procedures (e.g. solar radiation filtering properties of the atmosphere in different spectral regions). The solar irradiance derived by satellite data processing is in the following spectral bands: UVB, UVA, VIS and NIR. The spatial resolution varies from 3 km2 to 15 km2 (depending on latitude).
The time update period for fast atmospheric evolution phenomena (like clouds) is at least 15 minutes, while for slow ones (like ozone) is daily. A dedicated nowcasting algorithm is exploited to reach an overall resolution of 1 minute for the service.
The Sun4Health project exploits the following satellites:
- from 2018 satellites operated by ESA/EUMETSAT, focusing the service on the European region;
- from 2019 additional satellites operated by non-European space agencies, reaching worldwide coverage.
Satellite navigation data (GPS, Galileo and AGPS from mobile devices) are exploited to obtain the position of the end-users and to track its movements.
- An innovative satellite-based method exploiting also a new concept of wearable has been developed and successfully tested during pilot demos for supporting both photoprotection and vitamin D synthesis. The method has been patented in Italy and then extended to the key global business countries like EU, USA, Canada, Brazil, Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Russia and South Africa. The technology developed allow 3D body skin surface UV exposure assessment in real time combining personal information form the new wearable and environmental information from processing EO imagery.
- Earth Observation satellite image processing for UV solar radiation assessment in real time has been improved and a 3D modelling of UV radiation on skin surface has been developed and tested. Besides, the new wearable device technology has been developed from scratch (device electronics firmware, mechanical and optical design) and it is now ready for large number manufacturing.
- A UK-Italian start-up dedicated to business and technology development of digital healthcare solutions has been founded (http://www.sihealth.co.uk/) exclusively licensing the IPRs to it.
- Corporate users have been engaged in the Sun4Health project proposing equity investment on the newco related to the technology developed for 2.5 M euros.
- A commercial strategic agreement for global distribution of the Sun4Helath technology related products has been defined on the investor personal care core market (i.e. BASF), but on the other hand, the commercial exploitation of the same technology in other market sectors has been freely developed (e.g. nutraceuticals)
- 800 k euros of commercial revenues have been obtained before the conclusion of the project.
- A global patent concerning EO satellite exploitation has been developed and now it is maintained in activity.
The project was successfully concluded.