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Brief Published: 1 Jul 2015

Programmable Friendship Bracelets


New York-based start-up Jewelbots has designed a range of programmable friendship bracelets to teach young teens to code.

Wearers can sync the Bluetooth-connected bracelets and programme them using basic 'if/then' statements (the fundamentals of computer science) on a mobile app – making their Jewelbots send messages, or light up when friends are nearby, for example.

When they feel ready to progress, they can use open-source Arduino software – popular with tech enthusiasts – to get full control over the coding of their bracelets and make the product their own.

The founders' goal is to spark an interest in coding among women and girls, who remain underrepresented in the tech industry. They also run 'hackathons' (problem-solving coding events) aimed at girls that have attracted high-profile sponsorship from the likes of Microsoft and Andreessen Horowitz – a leading venture capital firm specialising in tech.

In a press conference, co-founder Brooke Moreland said: "You don't have to be ashamed of liking dresses and jewellery – there's nothing wrong with that. It doesn't mean you can't also be curious about the world and want to build and make things, have power and know how things work."

For more on tweens and tech, see Gen Z Tech Titans and our reporting from Re.Work: The Future of Education.