We love a fashion accessory that also serves a bigger purpose. In the case of JewelBot, these pretty friendship bracelets are also wearable tech that teaches girls how to code!
Creators point out that according to a 2012 study from the Girl Scout Institute, 75% of girls were interested in the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Despite this love of science, there are fewer girls pursuing computer science today than in the 1980s!
So, how exactly does a pretty bracelet made with a plastic flower charm and strechy band factor into this?
The JewelBot bracelet pairs with the app, and using it, girls can program it to do neat things like detect nearby friends, send secret messages, get weather updates, send text messages…all through the power of coding! Since the platform is completely open source, that means whatever they imagine could become reality.
Girls can start by assigning their friends who also have JewelBot a color; then, whenever they are close to each other, both their bracelets light up that color. When a group of friends who are all linked into each others JewelBot networks, the bracelets light up like a rainbow! In the words of WIRED reporter Kyle Vanhemert, it’s “the rare wearable that becomes prettier when it’s working. ”
Vanhemert also points out that this wearable is especially good at not only alerting the wearer to certain things (like an Instagram like, or new text messages), but also sending signals to others. It can become a way to visibly represent who is in your social circle. Vanhemert uses the hypothetical example of a fitness tracker that has LED lights along the band; as you achieve more of your fitness goals, it unlocks more colors that are rare, beautiful, and signify to others that you are a fitness champion.
Middle school girls already spend tons of time mulling over social hierarchies, social standing, friendship and communication — JewelBot was smart to use that existing interest as an entry-point to learning how to code.
Even Bill Nye endorses JewelBot, in this heart-warming video.
Yes, JewelBot is pretty, cute, and fun — who said that coding couldn’t be? Girls that love clothes and jewelry can also love coding, and we love that JewelBot is sending this powerful message.
Needless to say, programming our nifty bracelets to interact with the app and our friends is definitely on the list of coolest sleepover party ideas! (Seriously, do these come in adult sizes?!)
Check out the JewelBot Kickstarter for more updates about how you can support the company and order the bracelets.