L'Oréal debuts NFC-powered UV sensor at Apple Stores
- Beauty products giant L'Oréal started selling a button-sized sensor at the Apple Store to help people track their exposure to skin-damaging ultraviolet (UV) radiation. The My Skin Track UV sensor, offered by L'Oréal's skincare brand La Roche-Posay, doesn't require batteries and has a companion app that gives iPhone users personalized tips on keeping UV exposure at a healthy level, according to an announcement.
- The My Skin Track UV sensor sells for $59.95 at select Apple stores in the U.S. and at apple.com. The sensor's companion app also provides information about humidity, pollen and pollution levels that can negatively affect health. It is activated by the sun and powered by the user's smartphone using near-field communication (NFC).
- L'Oréal's Technology Incubator developed the UV tracker, which was first introduced as a prototype called UV Sense at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show in January. The tracker works with Apple HealthKit, the tech giant's platform that integrates health and fitness apps into its mobile operating system.
L'Oréal's UV sensor is another demonstration of how mobile technology is supporting innovations that help people lead healthier lives. The wearable sensor works with the NFC chip in smartphones, the same technology that supports mobile payments or keyless entry at hotels, which means users don't need to worry about recharging the device for it to operate, removing one extra step for wearers.
By selling the device via Apple's retail channels, L'Oréal likely will reach many consumers who don't frequent makeup counters in other stores to receive advice on skincare. Apple got into the wearables market in 2014 with the debut of the Apple Watch, which quickly became the best-selling wearable device worldwide. Since that introduction, Apple has touted the watch's health-related features including a fitness tracker that works with Apple's Health app and other HeathKit-enabled software.
The UV sensor is L'Oréal's latest investment in beauty-related technology, following its acquisition of Modiface, the developer of digital tools that let customers virtually try on makeup through augmented reality. The Modiface purchase marks the first time L'Oréal has bought a tech company after years of scooping up other beauty brands like Redken, Kiehl's and Matrix.
Technology has been a priority for L'Oréal since the company launched its Technology Incubator in 2012. Guive Balooch, head of the incubator, oversees a 35-person team that develops innovations to support the company's brands. The group began work on the UV tracker two years ago in collaboration with Northwestern University engineering professor John Rogers. In 2016, L'Oréal introduced a similar UV detection sticker called My UV Patch as a first step toward developing a sturdier hardware device for longer-term use. The company worked with Swiss industrial designer Yves Behar to create the clip-on sensor, according to the announcement.