This wearable tech startup is helping equalize the gender gap in coding by introducing “the world’s first programmable friendship bracelet” for teens. We love that! We spoke with Jewelbots co-founder, Brooke Mooreland, to tell us more.
Jewelbots are programmable bracelets aimed at teens to get them excited about programming. Using an app, the Jewelbots can light up when other Jewelbots are around (so teens know their bestie is near) or users can press a button and send a vibration to a friend across the room. They are also open source, so teens can plug them into the computer and write code to make them behave however they want.
What was your inspiration behind Jewelbots?
My co-founder, Sara Chipps, has been a programmer for her entire career. She was tired of being the only woman in her classes and jobs. She started an organization called Girl Develop It in 2010 that teaches women how to code through in-person classes. Something she heard again and again from women is that they wished they had known how cool coding was when they were younger and were just setting out in their careers. I, too, was one of these women. I started a tech company around the same time. It was a photo sharing app called Fashism. It was such a challenge for me to build an engineering team without tech experience. I wished that I had learned about all of that stuff when I was young. So I joined Sara to help create something so awesome that girls would want to buy it, customize it, share with it with their friends, and eventually learn to code.
How do you differentiate yourself from existing/potential players in the wearable tech market?
Jewelbots is very different than the wearables in the market right now. We are focused towards kids and young adults and concentrating on functionality that appeals to them. Most wearables now are used for fitness and health as well as notifications. We wanted to make something that kids could use to communicate with each other that’s not a phone. Also Jewelbots are open source, so girls can literally create their own functionality while learning how to code!
What was your greatest challenge when making the Jewelbots bracelet and what’s the most important lesson you’ve learned so far?
Building something from nothing is always hard. Building a complex piece of hardware that someone wears on their body is incredibly hard! We learn new lessons every day. There is a lot we want to make and a lot we want to do. Basically the best lesson we’ve learned is to listen to our users. To observe how they communicate, what they value, and then try to create something that brings them value and joy in their lives.
Where do you see Jewelbots in the future? Do you have any specific ideas about future products or segments you would like to target?
The technology inside Jewelbots is really cool. There are many cool things we can build. We think that the coolest functionality will come from our users. We want them to build and create the awesome use cases for our product!
Where can we buy your products, when are they available, and what is the cost?
Currently you can pre-order Jewelbots on our website. A single Jewelbot is $69, a Twinnie 2-pack is $99, and a Bestie 3-Pack is $139.
Jewelbots aims to ship by Spring 2016. To find out more about Jewelbots, check out their website here and watch the video below.
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