It seems the key to getting girls interested in code is through — bracelets?
Google’s collaboration with Shapeways in 2014 allowed girls to create a custom, 3D-printed bracelet via Google’s visual programming editor, Blockly. Now, there’s an Indiegogo campaign that’s harnessing the power of the customizable bracelet to build interest in coding and the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (collectively known as STEM).
A 2013 National Science Foundation study found that 66 percent of fourth-grade girls and 68 percent of boys liked science, but by eighth grade, “boys were twice as interested in STEM careers as girls.”
Enter cStyle — a codeable bracelet launched on Indiegogo by a company that wants to change those numbers. PinkThink launched in 2013 and offers resources, games, and other information on STEM subjects. The company is attempting to attract and retain girls into STEM, and through cStyle, PinkThink wants to make coding accessible and fun with via its own mobile app and drag-and-drop programming software on the web.
The wearable is a pretty straightforward looking clasp bracelet, with PinkThink’s logo styled as an element on the periodic table. It comes in silver and white, and it can be programmed to light up in 250 colors based on factors such as body temperature, ambient light, and notifications. The device can be connected via Bluetooth or a Micro USB cord, and has an on and off switch, so you can save battery. Otherwise, a full charge will last you seven hours.
The cStyle software includes coding tutorials, online forums, tetris and matching games, stories that challenge coding knowledge, as well as a blank workspace where users can create and test anything. Coding portfolios can be shared with the online community and also features password-protected sharing.
PinkThink is still finalizing the mobile app, and the company has various stretch goals on its Indiegogo campaign such as a gold-colored band, and even the option to eventually store videos, music, and documents on the band. If the campaign hits $300,000, the company will add a proximity sensor, allowing users to control smartphones, robots, and computers with a “swipe of their hand.”
PinkThink says it has worked with partners and interviewed more than 200 pre-teen girls to develop the product to ensure proper engagement. The company is trying to raise $50,000 and as of publication has raised $1,925.
The bracelet will cost $100 and will include the software, but the campaign has various purchasing options to choose from beginning at the $60 early bird special. It’s expected to ship in March of 2016.