Apple iWatch's UV light sensor could stop you from turning into a red lobster on holiday

Not only that, but it'll measure your blood oxygen levels too

Fresh whispers from the rumour mill suggest that Apple will implement a sun exposure warning feature into its upcoming iWatch, along with a tool for measuring blood oxygen levels.

The speculation come courtesy of Barclays analyst Blayne Curtis, who believes that an ultraviolet (UV) light sensor from Texas-based Silicon Labs is likely to find its way into the iWatch.

While it might sound far fetched, we actually think there could be a decent amount of meat on these rumour bones.

We've taken a look at Silicon Lab's product catalogue, and one particular series of sensors - the Si1145/46/47 range - sound like the perfect match.

For starters, a UV light detector is included, which means that the iWatch can track your sunlight exposure and warn you when you've had too much. 

We can imagine users entering their skin complexion into Apple's all-but-confirmed iOS 8 Healthbook app, setting a baseline for the sun exposure warning. But there's more.

Science

The sensors also include infrared (IR) sensors, which can be used to measure both heart rate and blood oxygen levels.

We've already seen how this can be achieved in the Samsung Galaxy S5Gear 2 and Gear Fit, and the principles in the iWatch would be exactly the same. 

And as for oxygen levels - medical devices called pulse oximeters exist which have sensors that measure blood oxygen levels when placed over fingertips and earlobes.

The sensors typically use a pair of LEDs - one with a red light wavelength and the other emitting infrared light. Both types of light wavelengths are absorbed at different levels depending on how saturated our blood cells are with oxygen molecules.  Blood cells carrying less oxygen absorb more red light, allowing overall blood oxygen levels to be calculated.

It's all rather clever, and while Apple certainly hasn't invented the technology, it will be the first company to wrap up all of these sensors into a single neat smartwatch package.

Whether or not they'll make their way into the iPhone 6 remains to be seen, but we'll keep you updated with the latest news, as always.

READ MORE: Apple iWatch: price, specs, release date - everything we know

[Apple InsiderSilicon Labs]

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