By Brecken Branstrator
brecken.branstrator@nationaljeweler.com
I had to regularly check the stories, features and any other user-facing aspects of the website for errors. While we did have a programming/development department to help us fix certain things, they were so backlogged with work that I had to take it upon myself to learn some HTML code, unless I wanted errors to be on the site for days before they could get to it.

This skill was such a great thing to be able to add to my resume and has been so helpful since that first job, especially now that I’m working for a web-only publication where we are posting our own stories every day.

Not only will being able to code and having technical literacy only continue to grow in importance for those seeking to enter the job market in the future, but the tech arena itself is providing so much room for opportunity in careers.

However, a 2012 study from the Girl Scouts of America showed that while 75 percent of girls were interested in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math), and at the same time creative pursuits like drawing, writing, and fashion, they still are not choosing to study computer science.

And according to a new documentary to be released this year, Code: Debugging the Gender Gap, the reality is that by 2020, there will be 1.4 million jobs in “computing-related fields.” Of those 1.4 million jobs, less than 29 percent will be filled by Americans, and of those, less than 3 percent will be women.

This is why it’s so important that we not only recognize but encourage curiosity in these areas in girls from a younger age, when their interests can so quickly be either piqued or put out.

Enter Jewelbots, a new wearable tech company cofounded by Sara Chipps, Brooke Moreland and Maria Paula Saba that is trying to get teen girls to learn how to code through friendship bracelets.

The project had a page on the Kickstarter crowdsource funding website where it brought in more than five times its original goal, closing at nearly $167,000 just a few days ago.


[caption id="attachment_3286" align="aligncenter" width="510"]081115_Jewelbots Photo credit: Jewelbots[/caption]

Tapping into the curiosity and creativity of young girls who love communicating with their best friends, the bracelets use a Jewelbots app and also communicate with each other via Bluetooth, so the girls can program them to light up when their BFFs are near or send secret messages to each other using Morse code.

Then, once they get the hang of it, they can “code the bracelets to do anything they want” using an open source program, including things like social media notifications, text messages and even controlling a drone. By plugging the bracelet into a computer using a micro USB and getting code snippets on the brand’s site once it’s live, they eventually will be able to customize their bracelets any way they want.

“Our hope is to get girls so excited about programming their Jewelbots that they inspire one another to create amazing functionality while learning to code,” co-founder Brooke Moreland said in a video on the Kickstarter.

Now that is wearable tech that I will 100 percent support.


Get the Daily News >
National Jeweler

Fine Jewelry Industry News

Since 1906, National Jeweler has been the must-read news source for smart jewelry professionals--jewelry retailers, designers, buyers, manufacturers, and suppliers. From market analysis to emerging jewelry trends, we cover the important industry topics vital to the everyday success of jewelry professionals worldwide. National Jeweler delivers the most urgent jewelry news necessary for running your day-to-day jewelry business here, and via our daily e-newsletter, website and other specialty publications, such as "The State of the Majors." National Jeweler is published by Jewelers of America, the leading nonprofit jewelry association in the United States.