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A black sphere with a red 'S' running from top to bottom of the sphere. Text Sensaball Smarter Safer

The revolution in mobility white cane technology is coming soon!

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"The SENSABALL is the way forward."

Brent Franklin

Former Director Seeing Eye Dogs Australia (SEDA); former President of Vic Swish; former Victorian Blind Cricket Association (VBCA)

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Sensaball Introduction Video with Audio Description

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Why should I use Sensaball?

Greater user feedback on any surface both outdoors and indoors

Better navigation on stairs, escalators,  crossing roads, tactile paving, grass, gravel, plus indoor carpets, floors and more

Enhanced modern design

New levels of safety


Easy to fit to all common white cane types

Hard wearing and long lasting

Australian designed and owned

Sensaball is a truly innovative mobility cane technology which has the potential to benefit millions of blind and vision impaired people around the world.

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The market for Sensaball is huge

Who uses mobility cane tips?

  • Blind Citizens Australia estimates over 500,000 Australians are blind or have low vision.

  • Approximately 20% of these currently use a mobility cane...that's 100,000 i.e. a lot of canes!

  • According to the World Health Organisation, globally at least 2.2 billion people have vision impairment with 36 million classed as blind. In the USA 3.4 million are classed as blind and in China 17 million as blind.

image of traditional left and right cane tip showing wear and tear after one month of daily use
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"SENSABALL…a multi directional ball that moves confidently over surfaces…I am impressed."

Nick Gleeson

Adventurer – Author – Speaker

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History of the white cane

Blind and visually impaired people have been using canes to navigate their world for thousands of years.


White Cane development

Addition of the colour white appears to have occurred during the 1920’s and 1930’s. Significantly, this was the point at which motor vehicles began to fill the roadways. In 1921, English photographer James Biggs became blind as a result of an accident and painted his walking stick white to be more easily visible. For this he is credited as the originator of the White Cane. The White Cane movement swept through Europe, then was introduced to the United States in October 1932, 18 months after the initial appearance. This was initiated through George A. Bonham of Lions Clubs International, who observed a blind man attempting to cross a busy intersection aided only by his black walking stick.


A symbol of the strength and confidence

The White Cane stands as a symbol of the strength and confidence of blind citizens, as well as serving as a tool helping them achieve maximum mobility and independence. It marks paths, alerts users to obstacles, provides right-of-way on sidewalks and streets, and gives individuals the increased confidence to expand how they explore and navigate their surroundings.


White Cane tip types

Over the years various tips have been invented and become available to fit onto the end of the white cane. Tips have ranged in size from a marble tapping tip to a golf ball and almost a tennis ball size which rotate left and right. These devices have the limitation that when the user moves forward the tip wears out over time due to friction with the surface travelled across, and if tapped left and right constant ground contact is not maintained. There is currently also a forward only rolling tip. This tip does not allow sweeping left and right, however some users with good remaining vision may find it helpful in certain conditions.


And now there is Sensaball

SENSABALL however is an original and revolutionary new cane tip device. It provides smooth, frictionless multi-directional travel, allowing the user to keep the cane tip on the ground surface at all times. This is especially helpful and much safer going down stairs, using escalators and traversing unpaved tracks. It runs easily over almost any surface. It gives users enhanced tactile feedback and higher levels of safety.


SENSABALL is a safer and smarter alternative White Cane tip. 

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Out and About with Sensaball Video with Audio Description

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Who are the Sensaball inventors?

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Sensaball inventor Peter Rickards

Peter has been a valuable contributor to the disability sector for much of his life. He was a co-ordinator of sport and recreation for Vision Australia for 26 years, founder of Australians for Disability and Diversity Employment (ADDE), and the first Australian Representative in a Winter Paralympic team (Norway 1980). He is a keen entrepreneur and passionate environmental activist.

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Sensaball inventor Rohan Rickards

Rohan has genuinely versatile talents. He has an industrial design and engineering background. This together with his skills as a handyman, craftsman and artist have given him the ideal expertise to design and oversee manufacturing of Sensaball prototypes.

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"SENSABALL cane tip offers a long overdue improved experience to the ball cane tips that are currently on the market."

Martin Stewart

Blind Australian of the year 2018 (Blind Alliance Australia)

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Can Sensaball reduce musculoskeletal wear and tear?

Some past academic research has found that mobility white cane users normally engage in repetitive muscular movements including with the wrist and forearm. They also tend to hold sustained upper body postural positions whilst walking including in the neck, shoulder and trunk regions. It is to date unknown whether these factors increase incidence of pain and/or wear and tear of musculoskeletal health in blind and visually impaired white cane users*.

Anecdotally some incidence of repetitive strain injuries from sustained mobility cane use has been reported.

Conversely, visually impaired people who have been personally testing Sensaball informally are indicating that its multidirectional smooth running over virtually any surface, indoors or outdoors with almost no catching or jamming, provides a much more comfortable user experience than conventional cane tips.

We are hoping that up to date research can be done in the near future to determine if Sensaball does indeed provide enhanced user wellbeing and health benefits to its users.

*Mount J, Howard PD, Dalla Palu AL, Grofstrom A, Pinto DM & Rudy S 2011, Postures and Repetitive Movements During Use of a Long White Cane by Individuals with Visual Impairment, Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, vol. 31, no. 2, pp 175-194

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Endorsements

“I was privileged to spend 30 minutes using the SENSABALL…I grew up using a cane…I got so much valued tactile information, and yet it runs along the ground so smoothly. The SENSABALL on a staircase glides so perfectly. It manages grass without a problem. I use constant contact, and it can handle an extra tap or two should I need that extra bit of echo location.

The SENSABALL is the way forward.”

Brent Franklin

Former Director Seeing Eye Dogs Australia (SEDA); former President of Vic Swish; former Victorian Blind Cricket Association (VBCA)

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“I step outside our front gate and move into mobility/orientation mode. I have used a white long cane for many decades, definitely falling into the category of a veteran user.

Today is different. I have a brand new cane and more importantly, a cane tip that is being developed. It is called SENSABALL, a multi directional ball that moves confidently over surfaces. Today, I will assess it.

…SENSABALL is moving over the footpath cracks and undulating concrete. I am quite amazed. It continues to rotate without hesitation. I thought it may struggle in the wet, soil and grass conditions. The cane is slightly longer as the tip is slightly larger than the ball tip on my usual cane and I think a little bit heavier. The further I walk the greater my confidence with the SENSABALL. I realise it is not going to jam and I am not going to receive the whack in the stomach that most if not all seasoned cane users have experienced.

The SENSABALL spins, but thank goodness does not announce its presence to the world around me. This is a nice quality and I enjoy this feature. I complete my shopping and return home. My first experience with the SENSABALL and I am impressed.”

Nick Gleeson

Adventurer – Author – Speaker

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“Over many years I have used a great variety of white canes. After using the [SENSABALL] cane tip I am pleased to say at last we have one that smoothly moves along with the cane user. I tried it on many and varied outdoor surfaces such as grass, soft and hard soil, concrete, and bitumen. On all of these outside surfaces, the cane kept moving with me without it being caught up, stuck on or trapped in. This gave me a smooth unfettered journey. 

I then tried it on indoor surfaces such as high and low pile carpet, wood, and tiles. On all of these surfaces, I experienced the same high level of smooth, unimpeded progress. This cane just keeps rolling in any of the directions in which you are moving.

In summary I say [SENSABALL] cane tip offers a long overdue improved experience to the ball cane tips that are currently on the market. Thank you to the designer.”

Martin Stewart  

Blind Australian of the year 2018 (Blind Alliance Australia)

Advocacy Officer (Blind Citizens Australia)

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"I am in my late 70s and have been vision impaired for life. I usually use a traditional roller ball cane tip. For the past week, I have given the SENSABALL a hard workout. I walk multiple kilometres a day, from my local suburban streets to public transport, city streets and markets. I have found that the SENSABALL rolls smoothly in every direction. I can’t fault it. I observed that the SENSABALL rolls along the slope of the land, giving great feedback about the contour of the land ahead of me. It was very adaptable and easily interchangeable from one cane to the next. I have arthritis and it was very easy to use. The SENSABALL is a true freedom ball."

Therese

White cane user for 30 years

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“The Sensaball has impressed me with its smooth rotation and enhanced user feedback across a variety of surfaces. I can compare it to a partially sighted person putting on prescription lenses. The Sensaball is a game changer, and I am completely awestruck.”

Mark

White cane user for over 50 years

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Common Hazards Comparison Video with Audio Description

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