Wearable ultraviolet radiation sensors for research and personal use

Alyssa Henning, Nathan J. Downs, Jennifer K. Vanos

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Skin cancers are strongly linked to personal exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, yet UV exposure is also the most preventable risk factor. People are exposed to UV rays when they engage in outdoor activities, particularly exercise, which is an important health behavior. Thus, researchers and the general public have shown increasing interest in measuring UV exposure using wearable sensors during outdoor physical activity. However, minimal research exists at the intersection of UV sensors, personal exposure, adaptive behavior due to exposures, and risk of skin damage. Recent years have seen an influx of new consumer-based and research-based UV-sensing technologies with wide-ranging form factors and purposes to fill this research gap, yet a thorough review of available sensors for specific purposes does not exist. Hence, the overall goal of this state-of-the-art review is to synthesize the current academic and gray literature surrounding personal UV-sensing technologies. Peer-reviewed journal articles and “gray literature,” such as working papers, manuals, and UV sensor websites, were reviewed, assessing attributes of UV wearables marketed for research use, personal use, or both. Overall, 13 wearable UV sensors are available for personal use and/or research applications. These sensors vary from electronic to photochromic, with large differences in price, data outputs, accuracy, and precision. Recommendations are provided for which sensors are most suitable for various types of research or public use. Notably, the review findings will help guide researchers in future studies assessing UV exposure during physical activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)627-640
Number of pages14
JournalInternational journal of biometeorology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2022


  • Dosimeter
  • Physical activity
  • Skin cancer
  • Sun-protective practices
  • Ultraviolet radiation
  • Wearable technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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