A product designed by University of Brighton graduates – the Enayball – was among the world’s top social impact innovations celebrated at an event in Dubai.
The annual Global Grad Show highlights research and ideas offering solutions to social and environmental issues, bringing together graduates and academics from 600 universities in over 70 countries. The Enayball electronic drawing tool was one of 150 global projects highlighted at the 2021 event.
Developed by Eli Heath and Pete Barr – who graduated in 2018 with BSc (Hons) Product Design with Professional Experience – Enayball makes traditional art equipment such as pens and brushes accessible to wheelchair users and others with limited dexterity – a group that includes at least 1.2 million people in the UK alone. Attached to a wheelchair at floor level or used on a tabletop by hand, Enayball offers 360 degree movement that translate the smallest movements of the wheelchair or hand into precise, powerful strokes.
The Enayball project was hatched while Pete and Eli were doing their degrees, and initially worked onwith several other students on the course. It was then developed into a prototype painting device in collaboration with the Sussex MS Centre. While the initial group disbanded on graduation in 2018, Pete and Eli formed a company to take the Enayball project forward commercially.
Since then, the duo have received awards from Blackwood Care homes and Santander, won a 2020 Deutsche Bank Award for Creative Entrepreneurs and 2021 Dyson Award, established a collaboration with artist Alison Lapper MBE, and joined the Central Research Laboratory – the UK’s first purpose-built hardware accelerator for product designers inventing ‘for societal good’.
Following their Global Grad Show success, Eli and Pete – now Designers in Residence at the University of Brighton – said: “We believe in the enormous power of user-centred design and the impact it can make on societal issues. We recognise the marginalization of people with disabilities in the creative community, and in particular, that their needs for usable art products were unserved. We want to challenge this.”