Sprawling on a towel at the beach, you’re probably not giving much thought to skin cancer statistics. But a new bikini will think about the risks for you: Strapped onto the bikini bottom, an embedded, waterproof UV sensor measures the sun’s rays and pings you when you need to put on another coat of sunscreen or step into the shade.
“The idea came to me on a day when I saw someone get sunburnt on a beach,” says Marie Spinali, CEO of Spinali Design, a new French bikini company. “I was wondering why the person didn’t apply some more sunscreen … so I invented something useful for women.”
Spinali, previously head of a French tech company, worked to create an app that would use data about someone’s skin type, combined with UV data, to calculate the correct time to reapply. The app also has a “valentine” function that can alert your partner when it’s time for more sunscreen, if you’d rather have them slather it on you. “You should not worry about how much you can stay in the sun; the bikini connected via application will do it instead of you,” Spinali says. “Just enjoy the sun and the beach.”
A custom-made bikini with the sensor goes for $223, with an off-the-rack version for $167. The company also makes a connected beach towel with the same sensor, and sells the sensor separately for anyone who wants to attach it to their own swimsuit. A kids’ version will launch later this month.
Arguably, beach-goers might be able to accomplish the same thing with a simple alarm on their phone (the Skin Cancer Foundation recommends reapplying every two hours). But the sensor might be a little more precise–and we probably need all the help we can get. Most people don’t know how to decipher the SPF rating on a sunscreen label, and few use sunscreen as it’s intended. In the U.S., skin cancer is now the most common type of cancer.