Rising Voices - How Maria Eduarda Franklin is Revolutionizing Healthcare with Orby.co

This type of article, which I will name “Rising Voices”, is just a way for me to brag about my friends. So let’s begin.

Rising Voices - How Maria Eduarda Franklin is Revolutionizing Healthcare with Orby.co
"What if we build a business around helping people with their physical rehabilitation? People need these technologies that we are developing here!".

Maria Eduarda Franklin (or Duda for her close friends) attended a technical high school specializing in IT, studied biomedical engineering and Neuroscience during her time at college, and became an entrepreneur in the health tech area. All before turning 24!

Let's go back in time.


How was she growing up?

Duda grew up being an extremely curious kid, always learning more than she was asked in school, and going above and beyond to meet teachers and get to know their research.

She always wanted to have the best science fair project. While kids were making models of stuff, she was making functional medical equipment. She used sensors, LEDs, studied monitoring, you name it. She went deep into the subjects to make awesome projects. She went on to make a miniature tomograph that won first prize in the science fair.

Outside of school she also studied acting, painting and did a bit of karate.

Her school realized she could go beyond the content in the classroom, and decided on giving her more challenges. So instead of reading normal school books, they would give her assignments to read Shakespeare. She would get 10/10 of her math exams, and even after the school made her tests more difficult, she would continue getting a perfect grade.

She went to a technical highschool, which opened doors for her to talk to teachers and get to know real life laboratories and their research. She grabbed the opportunity to become a junior researcher and went on to research multiple things during high school: Genetics, Biology, Robotics, Software, you name it. She published her first paper at the age of 14.

She was constantly in all boys' environments, but even so she was awarded the best student.

She grew to be very nonconformist early on. She wanted to teach her mother instead of the inverse, and she never felt much at home JUST publishing papers, she wanted something more real to deliver to others.

She was a curious and unique girl indeed.

She was taught to study first and then to apply the knowledge, and she brought this to her entrepreneurial ventures later on.

“I wanted to go beyond, I was always asking teachers to up the difficulty because I felt like I was in a race, and I wanted to go further”.

Entrepreneurial Life

Her entrepreneurial life also started when she was still in middleschool.

She would buy her own school material and focused on efficiency for the price early on(she didn’t have barbie notebooks if you were wondering). She would also buy and resell books as a side hobby during highschool. And to top it all off, she would sell study summaries for tests in school. This way her classmates got to prepare for tests with the best content, for the right price of course.


She chose to study Neurosciences at college, and as an extracurricular, she joined her local SAE Brasil competition team which makes cars that race against each other.

During her graduation, she got noticed by Sidarta Ribeiro and George Carlos Nascimento. They asked her to join the biggest institute of neuro-engineering in the country: Brazil's Institute of NeuroEngineering.

She joined the institute as the youngest person to ever get accepted. This is the institute with the same folks who came up with that exoskeleton that helped a paralytic kick a ball in the World Cup. Pretty cool hm?

Post Grad

Her journey progressed towards focused learning on neuroscience as she did her masters in it.

She went on to research and write her thesis on the “Development of a system for follow-up and generation of electro-stimulation treatment protocols”. And that's when she started noticing that there was a lack of development on these technologies in the commercial market.

The research was being done in Brazil, but hardly anything was actually used by the overall population that could benefit from it. In this scenario, she started her second master's focus on the management of technological businesses. And to stay engaged in business environments, she decided on going on hackathons.

Hackathons Changed Everything

A lot changed when she decided on going on her first Hackathon. She went to the biggest hackathon in Brazil, Hacking.Rio.

And because it was such a big deal, she knew she was going to need some help.

Enter the Co-Founders

Aldrén Martins

Aldrén Martins, started studying in a bachelors in Physics, but got tired of the theoretical aspects of his major. He wanted to build stuff. The closest he got to be more hands on was when he researched AI to diagnose alzheimers.

After 3 years he switched his major to Biomedical Engineering. When he joined, Eduarda was already on her way out, but because he had the electives, he ended up one semester behind Eduarda. They ended up studying Histology together and then became research colleagues. He became her duo in almost every elective from then on. And because he was also a great programmer, he joined Eduarda in the Hackathons she participated.

They proposed an AI in their first hackathon. She asked Aldrén to transform their research into a company. But he wanted to only focus on product, he didn’t want to deal with any administrative tasks. Luckily Eduarda has a masters on the operational side of it, so it was a match made in heaven.

Kalynda Gomes

Kalynda Gomes started working with design from a very early age. She worked in other people’s startups and built her own startups while still in high school. She won many accelerator prizes while still studying bhaskara’s formula. That’s something!

She had a tourism startup, book reading software, and plenty more. Sadly, most ended up failing along the way. However, Eduarda knew her (they’re cousins) and her potential. So she started sending small design requests to her, and the result always astounded her. After a while, it was just a formality away to invite her to a hackathon.

Duda called Kalynda to the Hacking.Rio hackathon, “I want our product to be beautifully made, I don’t know anyone better that can do what you can”.

So we got the technical side from Aldrén, product design with Kalynda, and the entrepreneurial vision + Operational of the business with Eduarda. What happened next?

The Result

They won the hackathon Hacking.Rio “Saúde e Bem Estar”(Health and Wellbeing) category in 2021. Duda got a brilliant CEO to mentor them afterward.

This mentor was Jihan Zogbi, the CEO of Dr. TIS, a cloud-based medical startup that grew heavily during the pandemic.

New Face of Healthcare is Born, Welcome Orby.co

As time passed, with the special mentorship from Jihan and serendipitous conversations with her cofounders, an idea began to emerge:

"What if we build a business around helping people with their physical rehabilitation? People need these technologies that we are developing here!".

It's often with a question that every journey begins, and a journey it's been alright!

They decided on starting Orby.co for real. All that happened almost 2 years ago.

Orby.co grew up to be a company focused on functional rehabilitation that develops systems for healthcare organizations to optimize their rehab programs. And another branch of Orby also deals with auditory hearing aids, helping people with partial deafness hear.

Physical Rehab - Sister

On the physical rehab side, Orby helps create processes for physiotherapy, like filling out medical documents, delivery of biofeedback on exercises, and attention security (mitigating many effects of professional misbehavior when they are too tired or not attentive enough).

With Sister, they are able to achieve greater biofeedback for individual patients and overall management of the health care facility.

All with one-click integration for ease of handling. Need I say more?

Helping the Deaf Hear - Audionics

On the hearing aid side, they have a noise reduction hearing aid, that helps prevent microphonics in social environments and an embedded AI that helps the user to self-adjust without the need for a medical professional 24/7 at their side.

As a comparison, most hearing aids in the market need to be adjusted by a medical professional (even upping the volume by 0.1db or so), and it costs a lot of money per consult.

Orby's goal is to give more power to the user and also inform their doctor as they adjust their equipment. That way the user is able to self-adjust, and the doctor can follow up on a patient via a simple app on their phone. Pretty neat.

Where is Orby Going Next? Harvard and MIT

Hack Brazil is a conference that is held in Boston, US, where plenty of Harvard and MIT researchers act as mentors to rising technical startups. They are to compete for the prize on April 1st (for real yo).

The final prize is about U$15,000.00, and it has 3 main steps:

1. First step is the Structural Phase: They are to evaluate the product and filter out the applicants until there are only 25 teams left.

2. Second step is the Maturity Phase: Where mentors prepare companies to go international and filter out the ones that don't perform all that well.

3. Third and final step: Travel to Harvard to make the final pitch.

They decided on competing with their Audionics project and I'm rooting so hard for them.

I’m excited for the future of Orby and I’ll keep an eye out to see what other cool stuff they do this year.

Fav Books in 2022?

I asked Duda what were her favorite books from 2022, and here’s her answer.

- Build: An Unorthodox Guide to Making Things Worth Making by Tony Fadell

- Principles of Neural Science by Eric R. Kandel

She mentioned to me that these two books were an awesome read regarding building businesses and being better informed on neuroscience trends.

That is it I hope you got as excited as I did for Orby to excel this year. It's always nice seeing new tech helping those in need.

Stay put and I will see you in the next post!

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