Debby is featured on Eyes on Success Podcast

Debby was interviewed in the studios of the Amsterdam TV / Radio Station AT5 for the American internet platform “Eyes of Success”. Hosts Nancy and Peter Torpey had heard about het exploits and took great effort to do to a very professional interview with Debby indeed!. Here is the podcast. The purpose of the “Eyes on Success” internet platform is to discusses products, services and daily living tips for people with vision loss, all from their smartphone or PC. The “Eyes on Success” website excels in simplicity and accessibility. Nancy and Peter did a great interview and also gave Debby lots of tips and tricks to enhance her internet presence. Great people, fantastic interview. We have fantastic people in our VIP communicty, you just have to find them!

Testing the first collapseable version of the Cane

Testing the first collapseable version of the Cane

Gerard from Hoofddorp has the honor to test the first collapseable Blind Cane. He prefers to use a roller instead of a simple point, which is the first time that Marchena Caneis tested in this way. The reason Gerard is the first to test is because the cane would not fit his suitcase otherwise and we did not want this gentleman to go to Bali without his Marchena Cane.

The inhabitants of the city in Bali where Gerard stays do not know what the blind cane really means, so they do not recognise him immediately as a blind person, on the other hand he is much better visible, which reduces the risk of accidents. Perhaps time for a campaign to make it safer for the Blind on the move in this great city.

Divisible Cane: Conical Connectors

Divisible Cane: Conical Connectors

Louisette, our local designer / maker, has refined Peter Hanely’s design to create a connector system that is suitable for testing by users.

One walking stick is on its way to Bali, we had to speed up a bit, otherwise the walking stick would not fit in the luggage!

These connectors can be downloaded here, click on the image to download the 3D print file.

Male connector


Female connector

De 8 mm Gripper.


The result!

And as icing on the cake a nice ring to keep the flashlight focused and less whobbly.

Debby Baffles Berlin

Debby Baffles Berlin

Debby visited a trade fair in Germany to network, get new ideas and find interested parties for her Marchena Cane. Once in Berlin she visited the interesting sites as well and made quite a show with her cane.

She’ll be back!




Makehealth Group Presentation

Makehealth Group Presentation

The Team presented their prototypes during a very well attended “Make Health” presentation. A total of 13 project teams proudly demonstrated their accomplishments.

The reason why private persons create solutions that people around them need differ, but they generally fall into three categories. The Solutions that exist are too expensive, they suck or simply do not exist yet. The team at “De Waag” help the team develop their Solution from Conceptual to Practical Prototype.

As did Debby’s Team. Her team had a bit of a head start on the other teams, because Debby had a clear vision of what the product would have to do. Her challenge was to get the right materials, only include the bare necessities and create a product that can stand the daily abuse of commuter travel and being slammed into objects all the time.

First the team prepared the presentation table and laid out the different prototypes the team created. Once this task was completed, we all joined the kick-off presentation in the Media room.

Paulien did a great presentation about the why and future the of Make Health platform She also conducted a very interesting interview with the panel.

Then the audience went by each project demonstration. The pictures speak for themselves.




Debby experiments with balance

Debby is always in motion. She is tinkering with the idea to find balance of the cane that would make moving it from side to side easier. She took some pipe insulation foam as a handle, a couple of padlocks to place weight at the back of the flashlight, some duck tape and she is off!

Right now she is just checking if  not having to lift the nose heavy cane is actually offset by the back-end weight. Instinctively one would assume that he added weight would add stress to the wrist.

Well, Debby like to test assumptions and she feels that if you do not try, you really do not know. The picture below shows that the center of gravity of the regular blind stick is far ahead of the handle. That gives enormous pressure on the wrist to lift the stick.


The center of gravity of the back-end loaded blind cane is much closer to the handle as the regular one. What the effect in terms of comfort and ergonomics will be will result from further tests.


Test fitting Peter Hanley’s couplings

We are getting another step closer to the production ready version of the Marchena Cane. We printed Peter’s couplings and after some finishing we test fitted the couplings. The couplings fit well and after some strenght tests we managed to break one, so we will have to beef up the design a bit and tweak for even better fit and minimal play of the fibre glass rods.

For a first version from idea-in-Peters-head-to-design-to-print-file-to-print-across-the-globe-to-actual-fit it is quite an accomplishment.

This is what it looks like now.

Some more designs in Peter’s Shapeways space.

Peter is at it again! The Canelug 2.0.

Peter Hanely, our designer from across the pond outdid himself again with a very lean design for the connectors to make the Marchena Light-up Cane collapsable.

The previous design was a bit difficult to print with conventional 3D printers, it works very well for Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), but this Technology is not available in all corners of the Globe (get it?). We will use that design for special editions of the Marchena Cane.

This is very elegant and lean. I mean, does is get any prettier than thís?

This design is being printed now and after succesful test, will be available on our BYO page.

Our friends in the USA in action – We have the first coupling to collapse the cane

Peter Hanely from California designed the first version of the coupling for the project to make the Marchena Cane divisible.

This link fits onto itself, so the design is very easy to replicate for production. The design is also made in such a way that the current cane can be easily adapted. The VIB does not have to buy a new cane!

Naturally, the link will  be tested by our discerning VIB test team (Oh dear!) and improved on the basis of their feedback. 

The first step for enhancement of the Marchena Cane is there!

Peter has designed more beautiful things, you can admire his works of art on his shapeways site and download the 3D print files for your own project for a friend’s prize.

For the more technically inclined, here is the link to Peter’s github Project page.

VIP with self-made Marchena Cane V.01

Today Debby met a blind gentleman close to the EYE in Amsterdam. He showed his measure to make the Blind cane more visible.

Debby invited him to the Marchena Cane Reveal event at the Waag on the 15th, October. We hope to welcome him and his wife at the event. The more the merrier!

The gentleman allowed Debby to take a picture of his idea to make his Blind cane more visible.

So you see, the idea is not new and it is very much alive! 

Moral of the story:  Broadcast what the Marchena Cane can offer. The more people learn about the new possibilities, the safer the traffic will be for VIB’s!

This VIB makes sure he is safer in traffic with his own rendition of the Marchena cane V0.1!

Test Print on Basic 3D printer

We downloaded the STL files from the blindjedi website and printed them on a very basic 3D printer. If this works here, it works everywhere in the world.

The result is functionally fine, and the print quality is fine for daily use. All parts fit well and minimal after-print cleanup is needed.


The Marchena Cane in Flicker Mode

The Marchena Cane in Flicker Mode

We tested the Marchena Cane in pitch black, the super reflective layer makes it visible really well. When you switch on the light, the cane is really noticable.

With the flicker mode on, you cannot miss it!

First Marchena Cane Exported to the US

The first production Marchena Cane Prototype was sent off via DHL today. Our first customer is Sam of TheBlindLife vlog.

This version has a simple rechargeable flashlight with three modes; High, medium and Flicker mode.

In “High” mode the Cane is a beauty to behold and in flicker mode it can not be missed. We hope Sam will enjoy this modern day rendition of the nearly 100 year old Blind cane.

Correctbook = Ideabook

Correctbook deserves yout attention. What is Correctbook for me? It is my Ideabook and an opportunity for children in Africa and Latin America to learn to read and write.

How do you work with ideas? You write something on a piece of paper, or something you happen to have with you, you scratch something, throw papers away and then it is there!

Just that is a shame about the messy paper with all scratched ideas and especially a shame about wasting all that precious paper! This is where Correctbook, an endless rewritable notebook comes in. Think of a mini-whiteboard that you can always use, never worry about empty batteries and never look for papers again. And what comes with it makes it completely! Correctbook donates 25% of the Business to Consumer and 10% Business to Business to Correctbooks for children in Africa and Latin America.

I do not want to be without it, it worked for me!

Visit Correctbook and reward yourself with endles writing!

Road test

Debby executed a road test in busy Amsterdam close to the Central Station, where she had the accident that set off the project.
As she raised her lighted can, people responded instantly.

How cool is that?

On 15 october 2018 Debby had her reveal of the “Marchena Cane”. It was a success, now she is forging ahead to fulfill her dream.


(Dutch Site) At Visio everyone can go to questions about being visually impaired or blind. Visio offers information and advice, but also various forms of research, guidance, rehabilitation, education and living. These services are for people who are visually impaired or blind, even if they also have an intellectual, physical or other sensory impairment. Personal and professional stakeholders can also contact Visio for information and expertise promotion.

MakeHealth Meetup: The day of the White Cane

During the first MakeHealth: Prototyping series participant Debby Marchena developed a light-giving white stick in FabLab Amsterdam. During this MakeHealth Meetup on the International Day of the White Stick Debby presents her prototype and ambitions. For visitors there is the possibility to purchase one of the first prototypes of the ‘Merchana Bright White Cane 1.0’ as an early adopter. For further development Debby is looking for feedback from users and their environment. Through the open source sharing of her knowledge and experience, Debby ultimately wants to spread light around the world and increase the safety of people with visual impairments.

Register here for free for this event.

Pimp my cane
Debby Marchena lives in Amsterdam and has a visual impairment. She was hit earlier this year by a motorist who had not seen her in the dark. To increase the visibility of people with a visual impairment for their environment, her white stick is provided with light. The lighted white stick, Jedi style, should help prevent accidents of this kind.

Debby is further developing and improving her prototype. On 15 October, Debby will launch a public campaign to share its model open source. Her ambition is to prevent accidents of this kind, to allow people with visual impairments to use this model and that in 2030 the algorithms in self-driving cars will recognize her stick and respond to it. The program consists of a presentation of the development trajectory and realization of the luminous white stick and a brainstorm about preconditions and further development.

About Made4You
In Made4You, citizens, healthcare professionals and makers work together to design and develop personalized care applications. Care has changed radically in the past century. A growing group of citizens experiences that products and services in healthcare are too expensive, do not match their needs, or simply do not exist (yet). With the advent of technology, the possibilities for developing digital healthcare applications have been increased. With MakeHealth we want to develop new, open design applications and publish them online.

Towards a usable prototype

Towards a usable prototype
Towards a usable prototype We continue to experiment! The most recent stick (early September 2018) is fiberglass, with highly reflective tape around it, and 2 improvised red stripes. And this is how it looks in real life!

Presentatie Prototypes in de Waag

Presentatie Prototypes in de Waag
During the final presentation of Prototyping Health in the Waag, everyone could admire the prototypes. The question, which almost everyone asked, was: Does not this still exist? Is not it logical to equip a white stick with light?

There are light swords, as toys and for role play.

There is a white stick of Laser, as light, without tactile feedback, very inconvenient for the blind, especially if the battery fails. Furthermore, as far as is known, there is nothing.

On 15 October next is a presentation in the Waag of my Pimped Cane, in the context of Prototyping Health.

The FabLab in the Waag in Amsterdam

The FabLab in the Waag in Amsterdam
The FabLab in the Waag in Amsterdam

The FabLab van de Waag, on the Nieuwmarkt in Amsterdam, is filled with people who all want the best for mankind. Patient technicians, an inspiring director (always making technology accessible to ordinary citizens, including co-founder of De Digitale Stad), interns who (try to) develop the most fantastic products such as Open Source prostheses, which you can use with self-made 3D printers. manufacturing with plastic waste in a remote poor area without health care, etc. All people who want to contribute something good or beautiful to the well-being of the whole humanity, including themselves.

Good company, good antidepressant.

Visually Impaired or blind Person (VIP)

Visually Impaired or blind Person (VIP)

This website is aimed to enhance the lives of the Visually Impaired and Blind (VIB).

For this to work we take a 360 degree context centered around the VIB. Our first initiative is to make mobility for the VIB safer. The “Blind Cane” is the main tool for the VIB to make their presence clear and communicate their bearing and course to other traffic participants. The original cane was introduced nearly a hundred years ago and has proven it’s value.
Now with new Technology available, we want to increase it’s utility.
1 Enhance mobility and Increase visibility
2 Enhance functionality for VIB
3 Enhance communication to smart vehicles, traffic lights, bicyclists and other pedestrians
Our first initiative is a 2.0 version of the Blind Cane, named “Marchena Cane” after it’s inventress. This is an easy to use and practical cane that can light up like a light sabre. We figure that if other traffic participants can actually see the VIB and identify the person they see as a VIB, they will naturally adapt their behaviour.Wielding a light sabre will most probably help the VIB to encourage other people to take notice! We know the “lighted blind cane” itself is not a new idea. We want to make this great idea of a modern Blind Cane universally available for VIB’s all over the world and easy for people re-make them. There are Fab Labs all over the world who can assist people with fabrication.
It is Debby’s vision that 30% of people with visual impairments use the “Marchena Cane” by 2025 and in 2030 the algorithms in self-driving cars recognize their stick and respond to it.
This will have a massive positive impact on VIB safety, mobility and Quality of Life.
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