PCH signs global partnership with L’Oreal

Irish design engineering firm develops wearable UV skin sensor with beauty giant

My UV Patch contains photosensitive dyes that  change colour when exposed to UV rays to indicate varying levels of sun exposure.

My UV Patch contains photosensitive dyes that change colour when exposed to UV rays to indicate varying levels of sun exposure.

 
PCH

the next generation of wearable, connected devices and personalised beauty products.

The companies unveiled the first of the products, a stretchable skin sensor to monitor UV exposure, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

The My UV Patch is a thin, disposable sensor that mimics the feel of skin, is about the thickness of half a hair, and contains photosensitive dyes that change colour when exposed to UV rays. Consumers can take a photo of the patch, upload it to the app, which will then analyse the colours in the patch and determine how much UV the wearer has been exposed to. The patch also contains near-field communications, and has been engineered to be durable, worn for five days at a time.

“The manufacturing process for this is very complex which is where PCH comes in. I wanted something beautiful with a design that was well thought out,” said L’Oreal’s global vice president, Guive Balooch.

Set for launch later this year under L’Oreal’s La Roche-Posay brand, the patch will be free of charge, with L’Oreal seeing it as a tool to educate consumers about UV exposure.

Miniaturise

“What’s exciting for us working with L’Oreal is that they are very familiar with products applied to the skin. If we were working with a technology company it would have been completely different,” said PCH founder Liam Casey. “We understood how to use the materials and assemble the products; they were comfortable with the application and how it would work.

“When you look at wearables, a product like this is as much wearable as you’ll are ever get.”

Line of products

“We were thinking about how we could bring beauty and technology together and how we could find ways of creating products based on the digital revolution and technology industry ,” said Mr Balooch.

The company established a technology incubator three years ago to achieve that goal.

It was that move that got PCH’s attention.

“They had the vision to put an incubator into Silicon Valley three years ago because they knew technology was something they really wanted to embrace,” said Mr Casey.

He drew a comparison between the beauty industry and the music industry 15 years ago in terms of how the products are delivered.

“We’ve seen a lot of tech companies and other brands wanting to play in the wearable space, because there is a convergence between fashion and technology. We think the beauty industry is one that has access to really put wearables on the body,” he said.