Friendship bracelets just got a futuristic redesign thanks to Jewelbots, as the bracelet not only serves as a declaration of friendship but also as a tool to help girls learn how to code.
The bracelet is simple in design. It has four LED lights inside of a flower pendant on a band. It has the capability to connect to the Jewelbots iOS or Android app for customization, writes Christian de Looper for Tech Times.
“Jewelbots are friendship bracelets for the iPhone era,” says the Jewelbots Kickstarter. “Technology-enabled jewelry for tween and teen girls, they’re a means of communicating with friends by lighting up when a BFF is near or buzzing to send messages to a pal across the school.”
Girls are able to add friends with bracelets to different friend groups by designating them with specific colors. The bracelet will light up with that color when that friend approaches. Users can also send each other messages in the form of vibration sequences, according to Tech Crunch’s Christine Magee. While the bracelets are fully functional out of the box, the idea is that girls will want to customize them and learn some basic coding in the process.
The girls will connect with each other to form a mesh network. Using a smart phone and basic “if this, then that” statements, the Jewelbot bracelet can be programmed to light up when specific friends are nearby. It can be further customized by connecting it to a computer via USB and using the Arduino integrated development environment, reports Owen Williams for The Next Web.
Jewelbot is the creation of CEO Sara Chipps and COO Brooke Moreland. Chipps and Moreland say the want to “inspire a deep curiosity and lasting love for computers and programming”.
The pair say they hope to get girls to “[open] their minds to science, technology, engineering and mathematics [STEM] at an age when many lose interest.”
The duo has also hosted “Bring Your Daughter to Hack” events at which girls located in New York City and San Francisco were able to build their own bracelets.
“When MySpace was a big thing, knowing HTML and CSS was cool, and now that Minecraft is big, kids want to make awesome models so they’re coding in Java,” says Jewelbots co-founder Sarah Chipps. “We’re trying to reverse engineer that with Jewelbots.”
This product comes at a time where the US has the lowest number of women studying in computer science since the mid-80s. 37% of computer science graduates were women then compared to 18% in 2012, reports Lyanne Alfaro for Business Insider.
The Kickstarter campaign to fund Jewelbot has already surpassed its goal of $30,000. Girls are able to purchase a bracelet through Kickstarter for $59 dollars or they can get a pair for $119.