Intel iQ | Cassidee Moser

Taking friendship bracelets into the digital age, Jewelbots teaches young girls to tinker and code their way into the exploding world of wearable technology.

Whether it’s the Queen of Coding Grace Hopper or the new wave of women innovation engineers, fashion brand CEOs and musicians, young girls today have a growing number of role models who use science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in their recipes for success.

Having more role models is critical, but according to the founders of Jewelbots — the so-called friendship bracelets for the iPhone era — the next generation of women leaders and inventors will chase STEM endeavors at an early age, like a game of tag.

“Kids want to have fun; it’s their job,” said Brooke Moreland, co-founder of Jewelbots.

These programmable wearables, which are powered by Arduino Gemma microcontrollers, teach girls how to hack hardware and code software so they can customize their own watches.

“The sooner they realize how much fun they can have, the sooner they will be hooked,” Moreland said.

Hooking young girls with hands-on technology could lead them to careers that are underserved by women today. It might even inspire many to start their own STEM-related businesses, like Moreland and Jewelbots co-founder Sara Chipps.

Through Jewelbots, Moreland and Chipps hope to inspire girls to pursue any careers, whether that means programming new video games or studying computer science. Hacking digital bracelets helps girls unlock their own curiosity and potential for becoming leaders in technology and business.

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Chipps is also a developer and co-founder of the non-profit Girl Develop It. She first noticed the importance of empowering young women while teaching them to write software at Flatiron School. Her female students were particularly excited, never realizing what they could do with software until someone took the time to show them.

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