MC10 partners with L’Oreal on sun sensor

My UV Patch measures the UV light to which skin has been exposed.
MC10/L’Oreal
My UV Patch measures the UV light to which skin has been exposed.

MC10, the Lexington maker of peel-off, stick-on wearable sensors that cling to skin like tattoos, has announced the first product to emerge from its partnership with L’Oreal, the world’s largest maker of cosmetics.

“My UV Patch” measures UV radiation from the sun and is MC10’s second commercial product, following the Reebok CheckLight, a sensor-embedded skullcap worn by athletes to measure the intensity of impacts to the head.

The UV patch “looks like a second skin,” said Guive Balooch, global vice president of L’Oreal Technology Incubator. L’Oreal is testing the product with plans to begin selling it later this year, the two companies are expected to announce Wednesday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The companies did not disclose the price.

Shaped like a heart and thinner than a strand of hair, the patch won’t beep a warning if you’ve been in the sun too long. Rather, a dye on the surface changes color with increasing sun exposure. The patch is paired with a smartphone app that reads the color change, then tells wearers how their exposure compares to levels deemed healthy.

The patch is waterproof and can be worn up to five days, according to the company. It will also work when slathered with a layer of sunscreen.

MC10 also plans to update its development of another product, one created for doctors and researchers. It’s called the BioStamp and, consistent with MC10’s other creations, is a slim, stick-on device that can measure vital signs and other so-called biometrics of interest to researchers conducting trials or monitoring physical therapy.

Isaiah Kacyvenski, a former linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks who is now head of business development for research and consumer segments for MC10, described the BioStamp as a “high horsepower engine that has multiple sensors built on board.”

Teams at Harvard Medical School, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, and others are currently testing the device and the software that gathers data with a view to using it in clinical trials.

“We’re pretty happy with what we’ve seen so far,” said Paolo Bonato, associate professor at Harvard Medical School and director of the Motional Analysis Lab at Spaulding, who has been evaluating the device as a tool in monitoring how stroke patients are responding to their physical therapy and medications as part of rehab.

About the size of a business card, the BioStamp is powered by a built-in flexible battery that can be charged inductively by placing it on a powering surface. It can measure everything from heart rate to hydration levels to blood flow.

MC10 plans to soon sell the BioStamp to researchers, who will have the option of renting it and its analytical software, or purchasing it outright.

In the few years since its launch, MC10 appears to have chosen sports and fitness tracking as the way forward: The company created a sports advisory board and filled it with professional athletes. MC10 has secured $60 million in funding from investors that include Waltham-based North Bridge Venture Partners and business partners such as L’Oreal.

Nidhi Subbaraman writes about science and research. Email her at nidhi.subbaraman@globe.com.
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