Two young women with a love of fashion and technology are taking their passions and creating a friendship bracelet. Well, it’s no ordinary friendship bracelet. Jewelbots are interactive, programmable and cute, all combining for one main purpose: to get young girls interested in computer coding. Company co-founder Sara Chipps started a non-profit called Girl Develop It five years ago. A non-profit aimed at getting women into creating software, a common theme she kept hearing from those students helped inspire the idea.
“They wish they had known that engineering was an option for them when they were in high school and college," said Chipps. "They didn’t even think about studying it or approaching it or that it was something they would be good at until after school when they started careers and they realized it was something they wanted to know more about, so that really got me thinking about how we can get more younger girls pursuing engineering."
So, how exactly do the bracelets help do that?
“They’re basically bracelets with lights and a motor, so girls can send their friends messages using vibrations and lights and they can program them to turn different colors when their friends are nearby," said Brooke Moreland, co-founder of Jewelbots.
When girls first get this they sync it to their smartphone. That gives them a bit of a warmup to coding. If that has piqued their interest enough, they then hook it up to their computer for the full-on coding experience.
“The app kinda gets them to think like a programmer using basic ‘if this then that’ language, so when they plug in the bracelet that’s when the real coding begins," said Moreland. "They can copy and paste code from a friend or our website and program them to talk to their Instagram or social media sites or any other device or any other functionality they can think of. We’ll have lots of how-tos and tutorials on our website as well as a community and forums."
Jewelbots, up on the crowdfunding site Kickstarter right now, are still deep in development. They’re due out sometime next spring. Developers said though cost hasn’t yet been set, they’re shooting for under $60.