Samsung Pay Is Here, and It Could Be the Best Reason to Get the Galaxy S8

On a trip to the mall late last year, as I got to the checkout kiosk to pay for the clothes I had just bought, I realised I didn’t have my wallet on me. Forced to make the walk back to where I had parked, I envied people living in countries that have had the option to pay with their phones for a few years, and wondered when I would be able to have that luxury too.

Well, that day has come. Samsung Pay launched officially in India on Wednesday, allowing you to simply make payments with your phone – as long as it’s one of six Galaxy devices, including the Galaxy S7, and Galaxy Note 5. If you have one, then all you need to do is get the app, and enter your card details on first run (assuming your account is with one of the supported banks, such as HDFC and ICICI). Voilà! Who knew the future would be so easy?

Of course, India isn’t the only region to get Samsung’s mobile pay service. Samsung Pay launched in Korea in late 2015, before moving to the US a month later. Since then, Samsung Pay has expanded to the likes of Australia, Brazil, China, and Russia. It’s a tiny market right now, overall, but there’s growing competition from all sides, mostly Apple Pay and Android Pay, at least in markets outside India.

Samsung Pay been here slightly longer for more enterprising people, thanks to an early access programme Samsung made available earlier this month. I’ve tried the beta several times during those weeks, and it’s worked flawlessly so far. To be honest, I have had reservations every time I stepped up to the head of the queue, but the only issue has been the curious/ puzzled faces of the people behind the counter.

It is also really easy to use, too. Like Apple Pay, it’s accessible from the lock-screen. Simply swipe from the bottom, and then swipe left or right to pick the desired one. It remembers what you used last time around, so if you frequently make payments with the same card, you’re good to go with one swipe. Then, align your phone’s back with the card reader, and authenticate using your fingerprint/ PIN combination.

Now if I find myself having forgotten my wallet again, all I’d have to do is get my phone out, and I’d have all my cards with me. Soon, the Gear S3 will have it as well, so you won’t need your phone either. Much more importantly, it’d allow me to leave my clunky wallet behind that I hate having to carry in my back-pocket. It’s a constant annoyance when I’m sitting, and I’d be glad to get rid of it.

Samsung Pay Is Here, and It Could Be the Best Reason to Get the Galaxy S8

This won’t be as universal for everyone, as it depends on your lifestyle. Samsung Pay doesn’t work with ATMs, so you’ll still need to carry your card around if you tend to withdraw cash frequently. Fortunately, I live a cash-less life for the most part, and visit the ATM roughly once every three months, so it’s not a bother for me. But that may not work for you. For what it’s worth, Samsung Pay already has Paytm support, and UPI is on its way, so you can use those routes if you prefer.

The biggest concern for most seems to be security, but mobile payments can actually be more secure. For one, card skimming isn’t possible since you don’t need to physically give your card to anyone, and two, like a chip-and-pin card, Samsung Pay only shares a random token with the reader, not the card number. Plus, it also needs your fingerprint/ PIN for authentication, so you don’t have to worry if your phone gets stolen – although the fact that your phone’s been stolen will still be worrisome.

The other problem with digital payments methods is that support can often be limited. Samsung Pay supports both NFC – which is the common standard for mobile payments – and MST (magnetic secure transmission), which works with most existing card readers, as it emulates the presence of a card by wirelessly transmitting, well, magnetic waves. NFC might be the true future of payments, but it’s a future that’s still not here, even in places such as the US. Samsung Pay’s MST feature is essentially a form of backward compatibility, so you can use this method of payments nearly everywhere, though the people working there might themselves be unaware.

For Samsung, this feature is a fantastic trick up its sleeve, as it gives the Korean company a leg up on its competition. By comparison, the other big two – Apple Pay, and Android Pay – will be limited to NFC-equipped readers even when they do make it to India. Samsung then has a clear advantage in that regard, and one that it can leverage to market its smartphones, and peripherals.

With the launch of the Galaxy S8 just around the corner, Samsung Pay looks like a real selling point. No thanks red iPhone, I know which one I want.

Could the Future of Virtual Reality Lie in Enterprise Software?

HIGHLIGHTS

  • VR can enable immersive lessons, and be useful for education and training
  • It is making an impact in gaming but also has potential in enterprise
  • Early adoption of VR is slowing, but this is fairly typical, says HTC

“Virtual reality can enable unique experiences that are not available through any other platform, and come in a number of different flavours, to appeal to a wide spectrum of users,” says Vinay Narayan, Executive Director, VR, at HTC Vive. It’s not surprising to hear a senior executive at one of the only two serious players in the VR space talking up the potential for VR, but what is interesting is that Narayan believes that a lot of the untapped potential of VR lies in the enterprise space.

Could the Future of Virtual Reality Lie in Enterprise Software?

HTC co-develped the Vive with Valve, the famous game company that makes the Steam distribution platform, along with some of the most popular games such as the Half Life and Portal series, and as Narayan acknowledges, much of the early impetus for VR has come from games. In fact, when he’s asked to name his favourite VR experience, he demurs, saying there are too many things to choose from, before naming the game Job Simulator as one of his top picks.

But today, nearly a full year after HTC started accepting pre-orders for the Vive, there are fears that the interest has plateaued. Looking at the Steam Hardware and Software Survey, January 2017, you can see that after early growth in share both Oculus Rift and Vive share looks fairly stagnant. Does that bode ill for VR?

htc vive consumer

“Sign ups – from a pre-order standpoint – the curve has been very typical,” says Narayan. “It’s similar to what you would see for any device, and although we can’t share the exact numbers, it’s been quite healthy. We’re still seeing adoption grow, and the biggest growth today is coming from a new area, that’s the non-gaming space. There are over 1,000 titles on Steam alone, and we’re expecting enormous growth in the enterprise space.”

That’s where companies such as Noida-based SmartVizX enter the picture. Some companies have been looking to make games, and others movies. SmartVizX has been using VR to design buildings. Narayan is one of the members of the board for SmartVizX, along with some other companies around the world, and he tells Gadgets 360 that his role with these companies is fairly hands-on, as he can help them to shape their VR strategy, and give a perspective on how VR is being used around the world.

For companies working on VR, in India and around the world, Narayan believes that consumer awareness of virtual reality, or the lack thereof, is the greatest challenge. “These guys are doing some really great work, but if the public at large isn’t aware of it, then that is a problem,” he says. “Right now, VR is just getting started, and not a lot of people are on-board yet, which is less of a problem in enterprise.”

smartvizx vive

Outside of gaming, he sees a lot of companies that are developing software for VR, such as design tools, and he also says that VR can be used in education and training.

“For design, blueprints and mockups, they’re all an interpretation,” he says. “Even a 3D model of a building has limitations. But in VR, you can prototype with perfect accuracy. You can take someone on-site, into the location. If you’re an architect who can take your client on a walking tour of their new house, without wasting time building a 3D model, and letting them actually look up and get a real sense of scale, it is hugely beneficial.”

“It’s particularly valuable for education,” he adds. “If someone uses VR to solve a problem, they are much more immersed. More of your mind is engaged with what you’re learning, and it makes a bigger impact. One of the ways in which the Vive is already being used is for firefighter training, because obviously you can’t just keep setting buildings on fire to train the rescue workers. The results of that have been amazing.”

firefighting vive

In fact the ViveTracker, which was unveiled recently at CES 2017, is used for the firefighter training – this accessory clips on to a real firehose, so that its movement can be tracked inside the virtual world. This makes for a more realistic exercise than fighting fires with a Vive game controller. “The ViveTracker is going to open up a range of new experiences, both in gaming and otherwise,” adds Narayan.

This focus beyond gaming, and to explore the different capabilities of VR, is also partly why HTC Vive launched its own market for VR apps recently, the Viveport VR App Store. With this launch, there are now three different app stores for VR – the Viveport, the Oculus Store, and Steam. This is not an exclusive store – Vive users can make full use of Steam, and Viveport doesn’t exclude the Oculus Rift.

“We believe equal access to virtual reality experiences will make the world a better place; enhancing our daily lives and the way we connect with everything. An important goal for the Viveport team is to enable developers to reach a global audience and grow their business,” said Rikard Steiber, Senior Vice President of Viveport.

Viveport

Narayan explains that this will enable Vive to help highlight not just games, but also other VR content. “SteamVR is a very widely used tool, but it’s best known for games,” he says. “Viveport will allow us to highlight non-gaming applications as well, and this will also be helpful when working with enterprises.”

Of course, the question is whether there are enough users to sustain this interest in VR, and allow even just three different platforms to proliferate. Part of the problem is the high cost to enter – the cheapest option, the PlayStation VR will set you back by $399 (Rs. 41,990 in India), and you need to own a PS4 in order to use it. The Vive is the most expensive of the lot, priced at $799 (roughly Rs. 54,900), and you’ll need a pretty powerful PC to use it as well.

Narayan however dismisses the concern, and says that awareness is the real challenge that HTC and others in the space are looking at right now. “Coming at this from a cost standpoint, the price point is already going down,” he says. “We are also work with a lot of PC partners to help bring the cost of ownership down, by reducing the minimum spec required, and helping to create bundles that bring the cost down. Over time, this will only improve, so what we have to focus on today is awareness.”

Facebook's Virtual Reality Ambitions Could Be Threatened by Court Order

Facebook Inc’s big ambitions in the nascent virtual reality industry could be threatened by a court order that would prevent it from using critical software code another company claims to own, according to legal and industry experts.

Last Thursday, video game publisher ZeniMax Media Inc asked a Dallas federal judge to issue an order barring Facebook unit Oculus from using or distributing the disputed code, part of the software development kit that Oculus provides to outside companies creating games for its Rift VR headset.

A decision is likely a few months away, but intellectual property lawyers said ZeniMax has a decent chance of getting the order, which would mean Facebook faces a tough choice between paying a possibly hefty settlement or fighting on at risk of jeopardizing its position in the sector.

For now, Facebook is fighting on. Oculus spokeswoman Tera Randall said last Thursday the company would challenge a $500 million jury verdict on February 1 against Oculus and its co-founders Palmer Luckey and Brendan Iribe for infringing ZeniMax’s copyrighted code and violating a non-disclosure agreement.

Randall said Oculus would possibly file an appeal that would “allow us to put this litigation behind us.”

She did not respond to a request for comment for this article.

An injunction would require Oculus, which Facebook acquired for $3 billion in 2014, to stop distributing the code to developers or selling those games that use it.

Such a court order “would put a huge stumbling block in front” of Oculus, said Stephanie Llamas, an analyst with gaming market research firm SuperData. It would offer the company’s rivals in the new market, which include HTC, Sony Corp, Alphabet Inc and others an “important opportunity for them to become first movers.”

Sales of the Rift itself would not be barred, but Llamas, said a lack of available titles could hinder Facebook’s offering relative to HTC’s Vive headset and Sony’s PlayStation VR.

That market is relatively small at the moment – sales of VR hardware and software totaled $2.7 billion in 2016 – and mainly limited to gaming. But Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has predicted the technology “will become a part of daily life for billions of people,” revolutionizing social media, entertainment and medicine.

SuperData says the VR market will be worth $37 billion by 2020. Likewise, investment firm Cantor Fitzgerald last year issued a report predicting VR would account for 10 percent of Facebook revenue in four years’ time.

ZeniMax’s lawsuit arose from 2012 correspondence between Luckey and famed video game developer John Carmack, creator of the Doom and Quake series and then a ZeniMax employee. Luckey signed a non-disclosure agreement with ZeniMax covering his communications with Carmack.Facebook's Virtual Reality Ambitions Could Be Threatened by Court Order

Carmack joined Oculus in 2013 as chief technology officer. ZeniMax sued in 2014, claiming Carmack’s work while its employee was crucial to the Rift. At trial, Facebook said ZeniMax concocted its claims because of “sour grapes” over missing the VR trend.

Zuckerberg testified that “the idea that Oculus products are based on someone else’s technology is just wrong.”

The jury decided Oculus had not stolen trade secrets but had infringed ZeniMax’s intellectual property. It also said Oculus breached the non-disclosure agreement.

IP lawyers said the judge would consider factors such as whether ZeniMax continues to be harmed and whether money is sufficient compensation.

Edward Naughton, a Boston-based copyright lawyer with Brown Rudnick, said ZeniMax has a strong argument because its technology continues to be used without its permission and the jury’s verdict does not compensate for that.

“I think they have a pretty good shot here,” Naughton said.

Mitchell Shelowitz, a copyright lawyer in New York, noted that the non-disclosure agreement explicitly stated ZeniMax would be entitled to an injunction in the event its terms were violated.

Not all lawyers agree ZeniMax has the stronger position. Chicago-based IP lawyer Joshua Rich said he thinks Facebook has a good chance to repel the injunction by arguing that ZeniMax is not being harmed by the sale of the Oculus products because it is not direct competitor.

If Facebook can get past the injunction fight, the calculus could change, said Naughton. Facebook may believe it has strong arguments on appeal or, because it has so much cash on hand, it may hope to wear ZeniMax down to the point where it settles on favorable terms.

“Facebook has deep pockets,” said Naughton. “That allows them to put their opponent into litigation fatigue.”

Minecraft Nintendo Switch Cross-Platform Play Uses Xbox Live Sign In; Could Explain No PS4 Support

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Nintendo Switch Minecraft users will have to sign in with Xbox Live
  • This is needed for Minecraft cross-platform play
  • It could explain Sony’s reluctance to support it

According to Mojang CEO Jonas Martensson, to use Minecraft for cross-platform play Xbox Live is required even on the Nintendo Switch. In an interview with Pressfire.no translated on popular gaming forum NeoGAF, he stated that Nintendo has agreed to this and have been “pretty pragmatic and understanding.”

“We’re tying everything together with Xbox Live. So you log in with Xbox Live…,” he trailed off, further being pressed by the website if this would include the Nintendo Switch to which he said:

“Yes. That’s pretty unique as well! But everyone that’s in on this, all the platform holders, have been pretty pragmatic and understanding of that what we’re trying to do is create a good experience for the players. We needed a good system to connect everyone, and Xbox Live is a good system.”

Later in the interview he goes on to say that Nintendo has been “very open when it comes to working together” and the process of incorporating Minecraft cross-platform play on the Nintendo Switch has been “very smooth.”

Minecraft Nintendo Switch Cross-Platform Play Uses Xbox Live Sign In; Could Explain No PS4 Support

Over the week, Sony has been on the receiving end of criticism for not supporting Minecraft’s cross-platform play functionality. This would have ensured all consoles, mobile devices, VR, and PC can all play together online. If this does require an Xbox Live account to sign in, it would add to Microsoft’s tally of daily active users, essentially driving its business forward.

Understandably, Sony wouldn’t be interested in exposing its consumers to Microsoft’s ecosystem, which could explain Sony’s Jim Ryan using a rather flawed defence that essentially harks back to Nintendo’s overprotectiveness in the 1980s and 1990s. Martensson stops short of saying this when asked, rather replying with the more diplomatically acceptable “you’d have to ask them [Sony].”

 

This isn’t the first time Sony has been unwilling to bring cross-platform play to the PS4 with football meets cars multiplayer title Rocket League not getting the nod for Xbox One versus PS4 play.

“We’ve been doing that with PS3 and PC, PS4 and PC most recently with Street Fighter 5 and Rocket League and other games. That’s nothing new for us, in terms of working with developers and publishers to allow cross-platform play between PC and PS4,” said Sony Worldwide Studios’ Shuhei Yoshida to Eurogamer at the time.

“Because PC is an open platform it’s much more straightforward,” Yoshida continued. “Connecting two different closed networks is much more complicated so we have to work with developers and publishers to understand what it is they are trying to accomplish… We also have to look at the technical aspect – and the technical aspect could be the easiest. We also have to look at policy issues and business issues as well.”

Eventually Rocket League was made playable for PS4 players to play with those on the PC and not against Xbox One owners. It will be interesting to see if Microsoft is open to a similar arrangement for Minecraft.[“Source-ndtv”]

Sony's move to focus on flagship Xperia phones could be good for it

Sony Mobile just announced on its Investor’s Day celebration that it is trying to streamline its product portfolio by eliminating ‘Premium Standard’ models like the Xperia X and Xperia X Compact.

Currently the company produces three separate lines of smartphones –  mid-range handsets like the Xperia XA1 Ultra and Xperia XA1, ‘Premium Standard’ models like the Xperia X and Xperia X Compact and flagship phones like the Xperia XZs and Xperia XZ Premium.

After eliminating budget smartphones last year, now the company has decided to further consolidate its line-up by eliminating smartphones that slot in between the mid-range and flagship categories.

Sony Xperia XZ Premium

This is a very welcome move and points towards a more lean and focused Sony Mobile, which aims to take back the market share it has lost over the years to Samsung, Apple and Chinese OEM’s like OnePlus. Consolidating their line-up does not only make financial sense, but will also help the company reclaim brand value that has degraded over the years.

A confused and intimidating line-up is a problem that Sony Mobile has suffered for quite some time now. Sony found considerable success with the early iterations of the Xperia Z, but over time, the attention tapered off thanks to a combination of incremental updates, poor pricing policies and a six month cycle of new flagship smartphones.

The foundation is there for Sony Mobile to stage a grand comeback. The innovation is there, all the company needs to do is streamline their line-up and make sure they don’t cannibalise their own products.

Instead of following a sensible one-year update cycle for their flagship smartphones, Sony decided to release a new version every six months. This resulted in dilution of the Xperia brand as every subsequent flagship had only incremental updates and did not look much different to the general public.

While tech enthusiasts and tech journalists could understand the slight spec differences between the new and old handsets, it became quite difficult for the common man to distinguish between the many ‘Z’ handsets on sale.

Last year, Sony decided to revamp their entire smartphone line-up by ditching the ‘Z’ brand name and introducing a whole new series in the form of the Xperia X, Xperia X Compact and the Xperia X Performance.

While this move had the potential to usher in a revival, their gamble failed to take off as the X and X Performance failed to set the market on fire due to a myriad of reasons. Now, Sony seems to have settled on the ‘XZ’ brand name and both the Xperia XZ and XZ Premium have been received warmly by critics.

The decision to streamline the product line-up will dramatically help make Sony’s product range easier to understand for the layman and will also help Sony market its product in a much clearer and focused manner.

Sony’s smartphones have a lot going for them – excellent cameras, a unique industrial design that stands out from the competition, state of the art displays and a wholly unique location of the fingerprint sensor. The upcoming Xperia XZ Premium is a clear representation of Sony Mobile at their best, a clear distillation of everything that makes Sony unique and what they are good at – Imaging, displays and audio.

The foundation is there for Sony to stage a grand comeback in the smartphone market. The innovation and impetus is there, all the company needs to do is streamline their line-up and make sure they don’t cannibalise their own products.

A lean and focused Sony Mobile has the potential to take back the market share it has lost over the years to Samsung, Apple and Chinese OEM’s like OnePlus

With fresh rumours emerging that the company plans to release two new flagship handsets by the end of the year, the potential to confuse their line-up again is ripe for the picking. It would do Sony a world of good if they establish clear product lines like Samsung has done with the ‘S’ and ‘Note’ series, with systematic and timely updates to them once every year.

What the company needs to refrain from is flooding the market with a plethora of products that have little differences between them. This will alienate the mass audience and will dilute the strength of the Xperia brand.

The future looks bright for Sony Mobile. They seem to doing all the right things in order to reclaim lost market share. The new Xperia XA1 and Xperia XZ Premium are getting great reviews. The ball is in Sony’s court now, let’s see if they hit an ace or strike out with a double fault.

New 'Miracle Material' Could Make Cracked Phone Displays a Thing of the Past

We all wish our smartphone displays never crack. The wish seems to come true as a team of scientists has found a new material that is cheap, durable and can be used in several devices in future.

According to the paper published in the journal ACS Nano, manufacturers are hunting for material that can be used in place of less durable and expensive silicon compounds used in devices.

Elton Santos from Queen’s University in Ireland and his team have created new dynamic hybrid devices that are able to conduct electricity at unprecedented speeds and are light, and are durable and easy to manufacture in large-scale semiconductor plants.

The team found that by combining semiconducting molecules C60 with layered materials, such as graphene and hBN, they could produce a unique material technology, which could revolutionise the concept of smart devices.

New 'Miracle Material' Could Make Cracked Phone Displays a Thing of the Past

“Our findings show that this new ‘miracle material’ has similar physical properties to Silicon but it has improved chemical stability, lightness and flexibility, which could potentially be used in smart devices and would be much less likely to break,” Santos explained.

“The material also could mean that devices use less energy than before because of the device architecture so could have improved battery life and less electric shocks,” Santos added.

Santos’ team is now working on transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs) that are chemically stable, have large sources for production and band gaps that rival Silicon.

Mouse Sperm Survives in Space, but Could Human Babies?

 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Freeze-dried mouse sperm used to produce healthy rodent offspring
  • This raises ethical questions about creating humans in deep space
  • Mouse sperm was freeze-dried and sent for nine month to the ISS

Freeze-dried mouse sperm that spent nine months in space has been used to produce healthy rodent offspring back on Earth, Japanese researchers said this week.

But could the same hold true for humans? And if conception were even possible in space, would babies born in zero gravity develop differently than their Earth-bound counterparts?

As NASA and other global space agencies work furiously on propelling people to Mars by the 2030s, experts say essential questions of survival on the Red Planet are often overlooked.

Mouse Sperm Survives in Space, but Could Human Babies?

Rocket scientists have little grasp of how humans would live and breathe on Mars, or if they even could withstand the powerful doses of cosmic radiation they’d receive on the two- to three-year journey.

A key component to colonizing other planets – as SpaceX chief Elon Musk has vowed to do on Mars – would be having babies, said Kris Lehnhardt, assistant professor in emergency medicine at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

This raises ethical questions about the potential for creating a new race of humans born in deep space or in microgravity.

“If your goal is to eventually be a truly space-faring species then this is an essential area to study,” he told AFP.

“It is a completely unknown area of science.”

Mouse sperm
A study in Monday’s edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a peer-reviewed US journal, was an “interesting first step,” said Lehnhardt, who was not involved in the research.

Mouse sperm was freeze-dried and sent for nine months to the International Space Station, which orbits about 250 miles (400 kilometers) above the Earth.

When the shipment returned, lead researcher Teruhiko Wakayama of the University of Yamanashi found the space sperm had sustained “slightly increased DNA damage,” after enduring an average daily radiation dose about 100 times stronger than on Earth.

Back on Earth, embryos fertilized in vitro with the sperm produced healthy offspring, and grew into normal adults, “suggesting that the DNA damage observed in the space-preserved sperm samples was largely repaired in embryos after fertilization,” said the report.

But the research revealed little about what might happen in space.

“Everything that happened afterward was on the ground again,” Lehnhardt said.

Not good for ovaries
For researchers who have examined the effect of deep space radiation on the reproductive organs of female lab mice, the news is not good.

 

A study published in the journal Reproduction this month showed that severe damage to the ovaries of female mice exposed to charged particles is typical of space radiation, “raising concern for premature ovarian failure in astronauts” exposed to deep space travel, it said.

One of the study’s authors, Ulrike Luderer, a professor of medicine at the University of California, Irvine, said her research shows why the US space agency is worried about the health of deep space astronauts.

“These types of exposures can cause early ovarian failure and ovarian cancer, as well as other osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and neurocognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s,” she told AFP.

“Half the astronauts in the NASA’s new astronaut classes are women,” she added.

“So it is really important to know what chronic health effects there could be for women exposed to long-term deep space radiation.”

‘Magical leap’
Lehnhardt said he is not aware of any studies that have shown rodents could successfully get pregnant in space, or that embryos could survive there.

“If a four- or eight-cell embryo gets hit by galactic cosmic radiation, the likelihood of that embryo surviving is probably quite low,” he said.

“If somehow the embryo could get past that stage we actually have no concept of how that would develop.”

Future experiments could involve sending embryos of various species to the space station.

But even then, it might be difficult to tease apart whether any problems in development are due to the absence of gravity, or to radiation, said Lehnhardt.

If somehow we took a “magical leap” to the point where an infant could be born in a spaceship, “you have a baby that in theory can’t stand or walk, and uses its arms as it is developing for movement,” he said, warning of the potential for a new evolutionary chain of humans.

Those born or raised on the Moon or Mars, which are considered to be partial gravity environments, might fare better, but still might not be exactly the same as Earth-born people.

“Maybe the one-sixth gravity of the Moon, or the one-third gravity of Mars is sufficient for normal bone and muscle development,” Lehnhardt said.

“That would lead to a similar species then spreading out amongst the solar system.”

Could this new drug give you a real sun tan?

Scientists say they have discovered a drug that could give you a real sun tan without even stepping outside.

The drug gets the body to create melanin the pigment which is the body’s natural protection against ultraviolet rays in sunlight.

But the experts at Massachusetts General Hospital in the USA say their findings is not so much for cosmetic use – but could have a “huge” impact in cutting skin cancer rates, BBC News reports.

Image result for Could this new drug give you a real sun tan?

The drug has only been tested on mice so far, but there are hopes it could reduce both sunbed use and the risk of burning for people tanning in the sun.

Dr David Fisher, one of the researchers, said they would like to see the drug combined with sun cream and made widely available in future.

Council chiefs say skin cancer is a serious problem in Liverpool, launching a national campaign against sunbed use in 2013 after finding half of teenage girls had used one.

Dr Paula Grey, the city’s public health director at the time, said: “Girls in Liverpool like to look tanned. We haven’t got a problem with that. It’s how you get the tan.

“It’s just not worth using sunbeds. There will be girls of today who in 20 years’ time will develop skin cancer.

“But we have even seen examples of girls in their 20s developing melanoma, and we are expecting to see rates rise.”

Michelle Purchase, from Prenton (Photo: James Maloney)

Tributes were paid to a young woman from Prenton who died of skin cancer last month after bravely speaking out about the disease.

Michelle Purchase, a healthcare assistant, was widely praised for a heartfelt warning she made just weeks before her death about the dangers of sunbeds she had used as a teenager.

Matthew Gass, from the British Association of Dermatologists, told the BBC; “A lot more research has to be done before we see this sort of technology being used on humans, however, it’s certainly an interesting proposition.

“Skin cancer rates in the UK are going through the roof… any research into ways that we can prevent people from developing skin cancer in the first place is to be welcomed.”