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Brighton pair’s innovative designs recognised

Friends and product designers Eli Heath and Pete Barr have been recognised with a Blackwood Design Award for creating the Enayball – a product that helps highly paralysed people create art.

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Two Brighton-based designers have won a prestigious award for their invention designed to transform the lives of people living with disabilities.

Friends and product designers Eli Heath, 24, and Pete Barr, 24, from Brighton and London respectively, have been recognised with a Blackwood Design Award (BDA) for creating the Enayball – a product that helps highly paralysed people create art.

The international BDAs seek to celebrate innovative new gadgets, technologies and concepts to help disabled people live more independently.

The awards took place on Wednesday 15 May at the University of Edinburgh and saw entrants give Dragon’s Den-style live pitches from around the world via Skype.

The Enayball is a device that attaches to wheelchairs and paints on the floor in front of you as you move.

Brought to life when the pair were studying at Brighton University in 2015, the Enayball has now been recognised by leading care provider Blackwood for the way in which it allows people in wheelchairs to independently express themselves creatively.

The product was praised by the judging panel for its affordability and the way in which it is building a community that connects and inspires disabled artists.

Pete, co-creator of Enayball, said: “We are so happy to have the Enayball recognised by Blackwood after nearly a year of working on the new prototype. We began this because we firmly believe that art is a human right and should be accessible to all, and this is a great aid towards realising this.

“Most products for people with disabilities are dull and utilitarian and the Enayball aims to challenge this stereotype. We’re working towards having a finished product that’s accessible and affordable to all, ready for purchase and workshop use, by the end of 2019.”

In the same way a single paint brush could be used to create the geometric shapes or drip paintings, the Enayball allows for individuals to express themselves differently and develop their own style.

Max Brown, Chair of Blackwood Board, said: “It’s always fantastic to see how entries can range from being intricate, high-tech products to basic designs and ideas that simply haven’t been considered before.

“We saw the Enayball as an award-winning design, because it gives people creative independence and because the time and effort that goes into attaching the device to a wheelchair is minimal.

“The shortlist this year showcased some truly phenomenal work and clever thinking, and we thank all those who got involved for committing their time to such important endeavours.”

The two other winning inventions were Be My Eyes – an app that brings sight to blind and low vision people by connecting them with other member of the public through a video chat – and Scott Alexander MacLeod and Heriot-Watt University who have developed a system using robots and sensors to help people Alzheimer’s Disease and cognitive impairments to live life independently.

Now in their sixth year, the BDAs support the legacy of Dr Margaret Blackwood who dedicated her life to campaigning for the rights of people with disabilities.

Today, Blackwood Homes and Care carries on her work and provides over 1,500 beautiful, affordable and accessible homes to people across Scotland as well as personal care and support services.

For more information about this year’s finalists, please visit: www.bespoken.me/the-blackwood-design-awards-2018-19-shortlist-finalists

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