Jewelbots are friendship bracelets for the iPhone era. 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.
Using basic engineering logic, girls can program their Jewelbots to do just about anything they—and their besties-turned-collaborators—dream up, opening their minds to STEM during an age when many lose interest.
The girls we know are are curious and creative, just like we were when we were young (and still are!). We wanted to create something that lets them communicate with their friends while discovering the tools of programming.
According to a 2012 study from the Girl Scout Institute, 75% of girls were interested in the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.) The same study also showed that these girls were very likely to be interested in creative pursuits like drawing, writing and fashion.
Unfortunately, despite this initial interest in STEM, girls are not choosing to study computer science. In fact, the number of women pursuing computer science degrees has actually dropped since the mid 80s!
We want to inspire a deep curiosity and lasting love for computers and programming. A love that these girls can take with them throughout their careers and lives.
Jewelbots work right out of the box. Kids can pair their bracelet to their phones via bluetooth.
Only hold the button down for two seconds et voila! They don’t even have to create an account. And the best, our free Jewelbots app comes for both: Android and iOS.
Using the Arduino IDE, girls can code the bracelets to do anything they want. They program their bracelets to light up when they have a new Instagram like or let them know when their dad is on his way to pick them up.
They simply plug in their bracelet to the computer using a micro USB. They can get code snippets on our site and customize them to fit their goals.
Once they get familiar in the environment, they can create whatever they want. Their imagination is the only limit. They will even be able to share their work and get support with the rest of the Jewelbots community online.
We know that if exposed to programming in a fun and approachable way, girls will love it. We also know that parents will too. So we created Take Your Daughter To Hack, a day long, bi-coastal event that let parents and daughters (and sons) create a wearables projects using the Arduino Gemma and a HTML/CSS workshop using Tumblr to make fun and engaging projects together.
These hack days were a huge success, selling out both coasts and creating a day packed full of learning, fun and confidence building. We have since been fielding requests to bring this event to other cities, so stay tuned for a city near you! If you're in the DC area, there is one on 7/18 at Microsoft Reston, sign up here! Next year, with your help, the girls will be hacking on Jewelbots!
Our design choices and our product functionality comes straight from our test groups of pre-teen and teen girls.
Initial Research. We talked to hundreds of girls across the US and used our findings to help us come up with both the design and functionality of Jewelbots.
Designs. These are some of the early designs we showed the girls. They voted on their favorite styles and we listened.
Evolution of the Jewlebot. Iterations on both size and design.
The Band. We moved from silicone bands to stretch bands for easier sizing and tying.
The Charm Comes to Life. A 3-D printed Jewelbot charm.
The Board. Working to make the board as small as possible.
It Works! An early Jewelbots prototypes lighting up like a rainbow.
The New Boards. Our new boards are now smaller than a quarter, allowing for a sleeker, less bulky bracelet.
We have just completed a smaller version of our boards and charms that we will use in production, based on user feedback from Spring 2015. We have removed 4 of the LEDs to make our charm smaller for smaller wrists.
SARA CHIPPS, CO-FOUNDER AND CEO
BROOKE MORELAND, CO-FOUNDER AND COO
A powerhouse fashion-tech entrepreneur, Brooke Moreland joined forces with Sara Chipps in 2014 to create Jewelbots, a design-minded wearable tech brand that helps teenage girls connect with one another—and with technology. Previously, she founded a style-focused photo-sharing app, Fashism, that launched in 2009 and was backed by Ashton Kutcher and Project Runway’s Nina Garcia. She went on to become the general manager of Fashion GPS, the software platform that powers New York Fashion Week and events for the world’s top luxury brands including Chanel, Gucci, and Dior.
MARIA PAULA SABA, CO-FOUNDER
Maria Paula Saba is a designer from Rio de Janeiro who came to New York to learn coding. During her masters at NYU she worked with wearables research at Intel Labs and met Sara Chipps in one of the ITP shows. For her thesis, she developed one of the Jewelbots' earliest prototypes. She is currently a Post-Doc Fellow at NYU, researching Bluetooth Low Energy and Arduino compatible libraries.
Risks and challenges
We are engineers, developers, and technologists that are super dedicated to making Jewelbots happen.
Our backgrounds and passion for this cause make us the ideal team for this mission.
In December of last year we completed Highway1, the hardware incubator of PCH International, an expert in manufacturing and supply chain management services. PCH has manufactured products like LittleBits, and Ringly. They will be our partner in manufacturing as we move this forward to the next step of mass manufacturing our prototypes.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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