Edel Browne

Founder of Free Feet Medical and Nissan Generation Next Select 2016

At just 19, Edel and her team have built a truly remarkable company, which uses laser assistive technology to help reduce the freezing of a person’s gait – a common and debilitating symptom of Parkinson's disease. Edel is also an alumnus of the London International Youth Science Forum and was named as one of 200 ‘Founders of The Future’ at an event in No. 10 Downing St.

Edel Browne has been busy, clocking up 30 hours weeks at NUI Galway and developing the design for her prototype product to help improve mobility for people with Parkinson’s disease.
February 20, 2017

I am through to the semi-final of the Accenture Leaders of Tomorrow programme so a lot of my time recently has been spent preparing my pitch considering that the prize is a place on the National Digital Research Centre (NDRC) Launch Pad and a trip to Accenture’s Innovation Hubs in the US.

Our work to design the prototype with CW Applied Technology is ongoing and all is going well there. At this stage the focus is on ensuring that the brief is done properly and getting the design right before getting into the engineering side of it. We are consulting with patients with Parkinson’s to make sure that the final product does what it needs to do to help improve their mobility.

I was also part of a Twitter panel of three people with SAP, the software engineering company, who fielded questions during the World Economic Forum in Davos about how we see the future, what kind of world we want to live in and the role of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

Life in NUI Galway, where I am studying a BSc in Biotechnology and also working with the Blackstone Launch Pad as Entrepreneur in Residence, has also been busy. All our modules have been front-loaded into January and February so I’ve had some 30 hour weeks on top of my work to promote entrepreneurship amongst under-graduates.

I was also pleased to be named recently in The Journal’s ‘Top 20 Under 20’ list. That was nice and recognition like that helps to raise awareness about Free Feet Medical and what I am aiming to achieve.

December 9, 2016

Free Feet medical founder Edel Browne has taken a big step forward having raised funding to finance the cost of developing a prototype product to help improve mobility for people with Parkinson’s Disease.

Our funding campaign on Fundit.ie was fully funded this month and we succeeded in raising more than the target of €20,000. The amount raised is now being used to fund the development of a prototype product .

We have been working with CW Applied Technology in Shannon on the design of the new product and that has taken up most of my time. Whatever time I have left has been spent preparing from my exams at NUI Galway where I am studying a BSc in Biotechnology.

We have briefed and liaised with CW Applied Technology on the direction that we want to take. A lot of that has concentrated on what the prototype will look like. We have to refine the design and we need to make sure before we start developing it that we are clear about what we want it to look like and that we align  it with the needs of its end-users.

We did a lot of research prior to this stage so we’ve been able to use case studies around similar products and what people with Parkinson’s have been telling us about how to change and adapt the product to suit their needs.

Outside of that I have also enjoyed participating in the bootcamps organised by the Galway Local Enterprise Office having been named as a finalist in the county stage of ‘Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur’. I’m looking forward to pitching to the judges next week.

One pitch that went really well this month was the five minute video pitch I did for the ‘Accenture Leaders of Tomorrow’ programme. I am through to the next stage and the prize here is a place on the National Digital Research Centre (NDRC) Launch Pad, which would be a great boost to us.

October 9, 2016

Free Feet Medical founder Edel Browne has succeeded in raising finance to develop a prototype product, while also putting herself in the running for ‘Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur’ award.

I’m just back from Boston and New York where I was pitching for funding at the “30 Under 30” Conference which was a great opportunity for me to promote the product we hope to develop to improve mobility for people with Parkinson’s Disease.

Over one thousand delegates attended the conference and I had to compete for the opportunity to pitch at it through the Blackstone Launch Pad Project at NUI Galway. I was one of six entrepreneurs selected from Ireland and the US to attend the conference.

The Blackstone Launch Pad has over 650,000 people in its network and it has hubs in a number of cities throughout the US and Irealand which were set up to promote undergraduate entrepreneurship. Winning the opportunity to pitch at an event at the “30 Under 30” Conference was a big achievement for me.

The pitch was confined to two minutes, which was a challenge. You can’t use slides and you have to present the problem you have identified and your solution for it. I had five exams and three assignment to complete before I headed to Boston so I was somewhat relieved that the presentation was as short one.

Our crowd funding campaign on Fundit.ie has been a great success. We set ourselves the target of raising €20,000 and we’ve raised €17,000 with a week to go. We will use that funding to develop a prototype product with CW Applied Technology in Shannon so that we can progress towards doing more largescale testing and hopefully moving into production.

I was also delighted with the news that I have been nominated for a Stellar Magazine Shine Award in the ‘Best Founder’ category. We also made it through to the county stage of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur run by the Galway Local Enterprise Office and now hope to progress to the regional and national finals.

FundIt Pitch
October 6, 2016

Edel’s company Free Feet Medical – is now live on FundIt (http://fundit.ie/project/freefeetmedical). Take a look  at how the device helps people with Parkinsons below, and feel free to get involved in this worthy campaign!

Edel Browne – getting ready for crowd funding!
October 6, 2016

In August Edel has re-designed the company branding, got ready for crowd-funding project, filmed a great campaign video (http://fundit.ie/project/freefeetmedical) and was also nominated in Women Mean Business Awards!

Edel Browne – wins 30 under 30, twice!
October 6, 2016

Watch Edel’s first Nissan Generation vlog where she tells us about amazing work she has been doing with Free Feet Medical, taking part is lots of events and she was also named Top 30 under 30 – Twice!

Designing second product prototype, winning awards and picking up her new Juke!
July 4, 2016

Free Feet Medical founder Edel Browne (19) continues to make a name for herself on the national stage as she embarks on a campaign to fund the development of a product to improve mobility for people with Parkinson’s Disease.

I’ve had a busy summer on all fronts. I received some surprise awards and I’ve been working hard on preparing a crowd funding campaign to finance the development of our second prototype.

The technology that we have developed helps to reduce gait freezing for people with Parkinson’s disease. The laser assisted devise uses a visual queuing system that changes how the brain functions so that it is more responsive to movement.

A lot of time has been spent trying to get a design for our second prototype finalised to run the crowd funding campaign in September. We are hoping to raise €20,000 on Fundit.ie to develop the product and to carry out larger scale testing, now that we have proof of concept.

The plan is to have it manufactured at CW Applied Technology in Shannon. They are helping with the design end. The product  has to meet certain standards and regulations, so we are working with them on that end too.

I won U Magazine’s ’30 Under 30’ for STEM and was also named as one of the Sunday Business Post’s ‘30 Under 30’ for Technology. I have also been nominated for a Women Mean Business Award in October, which is another great honour.

A lot of work right now is about making people aware of what we are trying to achieve and it was great to speak at Inspirefest at the Bord Gais Theatre in Dublin which promotes gender equality and diversity in technology, science, design and the arts.

I am also getting ready for my third year in NUI Galway where I am studying a BSc in Biotechnology. Another goal for the month ahead is to secure a place in the NDRC business accelerator programme. The NRDC helps companies like mine to grow and securing their supports would move things on.

I was also delighted to pick up my new Nissan Juke. I am enjoying all that the new car has to offer and I have received plenty of attention and well wishes as a Nissan Generation Next ambassador.