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Way is the smart skin sensor nobody needs

$129 seems like a lot just to be told to drink more water.
Daniel Cooper, @danielwcooper
December 7, 2015
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For a lot of people, devoting their life in a quest to look forever young is probably a bit too much effort, which is why a device like Way exists. Way is a semi-wearable sensor that monitors the moisture levels in your skin and reports that information to your smartphone. In addition, the donut-shaped gizmo sniffs out the local humidity and UV levels, giving you up-to-the-minute information on looking after your skin.

The idea is simple enough, since Way has a galvanic skin response sensor on the underside that'll study how hydrated you are. That information is then passed on to your phone, where the companion app will tell you what to do to remain looking your best. Unfortunately, that information will probably be limited to drink more water, get more sleep and stay out of direct sunlight — with the odd grab some lanolin cream thrown in for good measure. The other thing that the app can do is tell you your skin age, a neat twist on the Brain Age score you got while playing Dr. Kawashima's Brain Training.

We tried it ourselves and the execution is pretty excellent, with the system scanning our skin in just a few seconds. After half a day of walking on a hot tech show floor, it said that my hydration level was moderate, giving it a score of five out of 10. It also told me that my skin age was 22, which flattered the ego given that I'm actually 31 -- maybe whatever it is I'm doing is the real secret to staying youthful. Or, of course, the device is massively wrong, but we'll be optimistic just for this once.

Here's the thing, though: do you really, really, need a device to tell you this stuff? After all, drinking plenty of water, staying out of the sun and keeping moisturizer to hand aren't hard concepts to grasp. Considering that Way managed to raise nearly $130,000 on Indiegogo earlier in the year, there's clearly some demand, but I'm not sure if I'd ever consider it. For $129, the whole thing seems like an extravagance. For that sort of cash, you could buy a couple cases of sun cream, a year's worth of bottled water, a parasol and you'd still probably have change left in your pocket.

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