Rocking a colorful braided friendship bracelet was the ultimate fashion accessory when we were kids, and little ones today still love it. Now founder Sara Chipps has taken the concept to a whole new level by creating Jewelbots, the friendship bracelets of the future. These trendy and brightly colored accessories incorporate coding into the design, all while teaching girls valuable skills.
Chipps has always been a champion of women in tech. Before coming up with Jewelbots, she founded Girl Develop It, an organization that provides software and tech programs to women. “It started when my friend Vanessa and I recognized that both of us were, at times, intimidated to ask questions when we had them in our college ComSci classes,” Chipps tells us. “We recognized that creating an environment that was judgement free and for beginners would be valuable, so we planned a class and it just ballooned from there. At last count, Girl Develop It is in 45 cities and has taught 17,000 women through in-person coding classes.”
Through her work with Girl Develop It, she learned that coding didn’t have to be an overwhelming concept. “I’ve seen women in their eighties take to it like fish to water, and now with Jewelbots, I’ve seen girls as young as five coding away. It’s been really inspiring watching these fearless beginners take so quickly to something so foreign to them,” she says. In fact, it was young girls who came up with the idea for Jewelbots. “We have talked to hundreds of girls and have asked them ‘what can we make for you that would inspire you to build and create?’ We ended up with Jewelbots: smart, open-source friendship bracelets.”
How It Works
“Jewelbots are open source, so the girls can use the Arduino IDE to make them do just about anything, like alerting them when they have a new Instagram follower or when their dad is on the way to pick them up, or even letting them control their drone,” Chipps explains.
“They just need to plug in the Jewelbot to their computer, and they can copy and paste code or create their own from scratch. Our hope is by making something girls love, and giving them the ability to customize it through code, they will be motivated to learn.”
The girls she has been testing the bracelets on are absolutely loving it. “It’s really inspiring to see them planning the different functionalities that they plan on giving their Jewelbots,” she says. “From weather updates to sending SMS, we know that the coolest Jewelbots code is yet to come and will be designed by girls.” Jewlbots’ Kickstarter campaign launched on Wednesday, raising over half of their campaign goal within the first few hours. While most of the early-bird packages have sold out, you can still nab two Jewelbots for aspiring BFF coders for only $72. With this much interest, we think it won’t be long until Jewelbots hit store shelves!
Do you know how to code? Would you give this a try with a little one in your life? Sound off in the comments.