A team of five University of Brighton students have picked up a £2,000 prize for designing a new system to help disabled wheelchair users to paint.
The ‘enABall’ took top honours in the Santander University of Brighton Ideas Competition 2017.
The device was invented by Product Design with Professional Placement BSc (Hons) students Benjamin Taylor, Benson Pocock, Pete Barr, George McPherson and Eli Heath. In addition to the cash prize, judges awarded the team a package of business support to develop their idea.
The students also run the Brighton-based design business The Process in their spare time. Their product, the enAball is a portable and adaptable painting device that allows wheelchair users to independently express themselves through art.
It has been developed in conjunction with the Sussex MS Centre and the students worked directly with MS sufferers, taking a user-centrered approach. The students also worked with the national charity REMAP and have been nominated for their annual award.
Speaking about the project, team member Peter Barr said: “We wanted to design something that elevated the creative freedom that disabled individuals often find themselves deprived of. The enAball uses a ball bearing as a paint applicator giving the user 360 degrees of movement, and its small size and portable nature requires only a small amount of space to operate. The current market is populated by big, ungainly and messy products that restrict the users’ freedom through flawed rollers, barrels and wheels. The arms are also adaptable meaning the product can attach to a range of wheelchairs – from an adult’s to a child’s.”
Second prize went to fashion graduate Danielle Reynolds and her range of high-visibility wear for horse-riders. Jaspreet Paul, Shahram Nojo, and Makhan Uppal collected third prize for their roommate-finder app UniRoomie.
Runners-up prizes were given to Finlay Thorburn for Buffalo Adventures, a youth adventure travel company, and Candice Armah and Matthew Hamblion for their video games lounge idea Health Bar.
Clare Griffiths, Business Development Manager (Enterprise), said: “The standard of this year’s competition was extremely high, making it a very competitive and exciting final. All of the finalists put in a great amount of effort preparing their pitches and they did themselves proud on stage. We are looking forward to continuing to work with them all, through the university’s entrepreneurship support service, beepurple, over the coming months.”
The Ideas Competition is funded and supported by Santander Universities which rewarded all five finalists with cash prizes. Business support including accountancy and legal advice, mentoring, printing and intellectual property protection is donated by Hybe, Inngot, MDHUB, Mayo Wynne Baxter, Swindells Chartered Accountants and Exhibit Printing.
On 12 June, beepurple will run a five-day business start-up course, UltraViolet, which is exclusive to all University of Brighton students and graduates. For more information visit beepurple.co.uk.
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