Skip to main content
International Top 20

Enayball

An accessible electronic drawing tool that enables anyone with a physical disability, including the most highly paralysed people, to independently draw.

  • The current prototype being used by artist Alison Lapper MBE, drawing at large scale.

  • A video showcasing Enayball in action, its key features, its artists and the design journey so far.

    A video showcasing Enayball in action, its key features, its artists and the design journey so far.

  • The handheld modality during a testing session with Dana, 14, who has Cerebral Palsy.

  • An under-the-hood look at the technology that powers Enayball.

  • Prototype developments from 2018 to now. From a ball-bearing-based system to handheld testing.

  • A selection of artists and their art from the last 3 years.

What it does

Enayball is an electronic tool that makes traditional art equipment accessible. It can be attached to a wheelchair, drawing on the floor as the person moves their chair. It can also be used on a tabletop by hand, supporting people with dexterity issues.


Your inspiration

It began as a bespoke product. We were students and heard of a local MS centre that needed some design help. We both love art and when we met Barry, paralysed from the neck down from MS and wanting to be able to draw again, we felt an instant connection. Seeing him use the device, smiling, and getting encouraging feedback from his OT, we realised we needed to make the benefits of art accessible to as many people as possible. We’ve met many inspiring artists on our design journey and are passionate about designing a piece of accessible equipment for them that is beautiful and celebratory, rather than utilitarian and stigmatising.


How it works

Enayball holds art tools (from 4-40mm in diameter) with an adjustable clamp. A compression spring holds the tool firmly against the paper, ensuring a consistent line. When the artist chooses, they can press the remote to raise or lower the tool. The remote connects to Enayball via Bluetooth and controls a servo and cam to create this movement. The device has many ergonomic considerations; the remote’s button is large and sensitive and features a sprung clip, velcro strap, and magnets, so it can be attached anywhere to work around the artist's ability. The shape of Enayball mimics an ergonomic mouse, meaning that the artist's wrist is not in flexion, reducing strain, and a velcro strap supports their grip. A removable arm means it can be used both on a wheelchair and by hand. The arm uses tensioned U-Joints to lengthen or shorten, so it fits different styles of chairs, and to suit the artist’s line of sight. The V clamp fits any shape of wheelchair tubing.


Design process

The first proof-of-concept prototype was a hacked roll-on deodorant stick. We mixed ink with deodorant...it made for delicious smelling artwork that never dried! We then moved to use a ball-bearing castor as the nib so it could dispense more media, like poster paint. We produced 10 of these prototypes for a 7 person workshop as part of a drawing festival. People from the event asked for more control and independence when drawing. This involved the ability to stop and start the line when they choose (electronics to lift the nib on/off the surface with a remote control) and to extend or shorten the arm to improve the artist’s visibility (an adjustable arm utilising U-joints). It was essential that all developments were consistently driven by real-world user-feedback We then joined a hardware accelerator program which encouraged us to reconsider the design in order to maximise social impact. Through a series of end-user interviews, we concluded a handheld modality would open up the benefits of Enayball to wider audiences. With the assistance of several OTs and many testing sessions, we designed the shape to be an upright, ergonomic gripping device. We also focused on DFMA, making it material-efficient via 3D printing so that it can be accessibly-priced and quickly adjustable.


How it is different

Our main competitor, Zot Artz, is high-cost, creatively limited, heavy & bulky. They have a fixed function of printing shapes and require lots of setup. They cannot be used by hand. Other comparisons are expensive digital tools, like tablets and VR, and we know that users want an affordable and analogue art experience (art therapists encourage cathartic, large scale, ‘messy’ artwork). Enayball offers an affordable solution (prices have been sense-checked by prospective customers). It is also creatively empowering and easy to use; users can use most traditional art equipment and it can be used independently after an easy set-up. The remote control offers users a unique ability to start/stop the line remotely, if unable to lift the pen. Enayball seamlessly integrates with a wheelchair which the users are familiar with operating, allowing them to effortlessly control their mark-making. It is also lightweight, portable and can be used in someone’s home.


Future plans

During the latest testing, we noticed a few things; 1. battery indication and remote activation light would improve UX 2. We can reduce costs with telescopic arms. After testing these changes 10 units will be donated to charities and individuals. Feedback will lead to final revisions before we launch a crowdfunding campaign. We want Enayball to be an industry leader for creative, accessible tools. More importantly, we want it to be a platform to promote underrepresented people and artists and challenge stigma within the arts. We plan to host workshops - both recreational and therapeutic - and develop our online community to achieve this.


Awards

Blackwood Design Award - A care home provider awarded Enayball 'Best New Concept'. It was praised for the "way in which it is building a community that connects and inspires disabled artists". Central Research Lab - Hardware Accelerator. Deutsche Bank Awards for Creative Entrepreneurs. Young Innovators.


End of main content. Return to top of main content.