Friendship Bracelets That Encourage Young Girls to Code
Developers Sara Chipps and Brooke Moreland have noticed that there is an extreme lack of women in the computer science industry. To help encourage a larger female voice in the community, they developed a new product, called Jewelbots, that aims to get tween and teen girls interested in coding. The programmable bracelets give users the ability to personalize and build custom features.
To begin, wearers do not have to write any code. It starts with simple if/then statements on a connected mobile app. They can connect via Bluetooth and don't necessarily need a phone to make it work. The bracelets blink, vibrate, and light up to allow girls to communicate in Morse code. They react to friends' devices as well as other users nearby.
When the budding programmer is ready to take things a step further, they can plug their Jewelbot into their computer. Using open source software Arduino IDE, they can alter and add to their bracelets using sample codes on the Jewelbot website for guidance. For example, they can program their jewelry to blink every time they get a notification on social media or to remind them that their favorite TV show is about to start.
"We want to help girls get excited about building and technology at a young age, before they are deciding what career path to choose," Moreland told PSFK. "We also have observed that many programmers started programming because they were genuinely interested in projects and games and had a problem that they wanted to solve, not because someone showed them, but because they wanted to figure it out.”
The wearable helps girls express themselves while sparking their curiosity about programming. Prototypes are being tested now, and a new batch is expected to debut later this summer.