Knight Rider Blind Cane Tip – Windesheim Students innovation

The students of Windesheim initiated a very interesting innovation.

The students have investigated how the VIP can alert other road users in the most striking way, without having a Christmas tree effect, that they will make the crossing. 

The innovation is a kind of “Knight Rider Blind Cane tip. This enhancement makes it possible for the VIP to alert other road users that they want to cross the road with a kind of  “indicator signal”, much like in modern cars.

The Marchena Light-up cane team picked up the idea and made a prototype based on the 4017 chip with 10 LEDs and one trigger RGB LED. The purpose of the prototype is to get an idea of ​​the form factor, weight, user controls and operation.

The first lab tests are encouraging, the prototype can be seen well in the evening and the weight gain is acceptable. The prototype is not optimized and is already light now. We think so, now the VIPs have to give their opinion on this, there is plenty of feedback on how things can be improved. 🙂

The prototype LED’s fit in a transparent acrylic tube as well as in the regular glass fiber tube of the standard Marchena Light up cane.

The disadvantage of the solution applied to the regular lightupcane tube is that the light from the handle flashlight does not pass the signal LEDs, so the team must investigate to what extent this influences the visibility of the Blind Cane and come up with improvements.

The really nice thing about this enhancement is that it is also suitable for regular blind Canes. So the team will put their minds to that as well.

The prototype: It is still a jumble of wires, but the 1.0 version is a neat printed circuit board (PCB) that everyone can buy through Amazon.

The new version boasts a 4017 chip and a 555 chip for a more stable operation. The speed can be adjusted, which is useful for testing purposes. When the formfactor for the PCB is ready, it will also be available for Marchena Lightup Cane owners and for regular canes.

This is what the prototype and new print looks like;

And this is how the prototype works!


VR 360* “Lightupcanes make me visible “

Aankondiging VR filmpje

Lightup Canes Make me visible

June 20 the VR videos of Heroes & Friends Amsterdam were shown for the firsttime. The same goes for Debby’s VR video of the Marchena Lightupcane.

Making of: Debby’s Heroes and Friends Amsterdam VR Movie

Aankondiging VR filmpje

The collaboration between Debby and the Heroes & Friends of Amsterdam has resulted in a Virtual Reality (VR) movie about Debby’s experience as a VIP.

Click on the image below to view the “Behind the scenes” teaser.

The video will premiere in the Evening Programme on the 20th of June 2019 at the “Entrepeneurial Solutions for a Sustainable City Event“.

The event is hosted at the Impact Hub of the Heroes and Friends of Amsterdam, the evening programme starts at 19:00 hrs.


Impact Hub

Linnaeusstraat 2c

1092 CK Amsterdam


Presentation of Light-up cane Improvement Student Science Project – Calandlyceum Amsterdam

Julian, Max and Calvin from VWO 4 of the Caland Lyceum in Amsterdam have worked on making the Marchena Lightup Cane more user-friendly.

First, they have adapted the handle. They have added a vibration function in the handle, so that a blind user knows if the light is on and if the battery is low. They put the electronics in the handle, which is 3D printed. Their handle is longer and slightly wider than the earlier model.

They have experimented with applying the lighting to the tip, the end of the stick. Ultimately, their lighting is also in the handle, and it shines fairly far through, at least over 80 cm, the light is quite clearly visible! Their handle also gives light.

In addition, they have made the pole divisible with the tent pole principle (with thin nylon thread) and aluminum connectors.

All in all, the students of the Calandlyceum have made a useful contribution to the further development of the Marchena Lightup Cane. Thanks for that!


The Calandlyceum stands for “More than just a good diploma”.
Surely you can continue after the Calandlyceum with a good diploma. But the Calandlyceum also want our students – in the safe environment of school – to develop socially and emotionally into independent, balanced young adults. The Calandlyceum also provide the students with the best possible guidance, from first year classes to final exams.

Well, we are sure we will be seeing more achievements of these young Gentlemen.

Honours Programme Technology and Society at “Hogeschool Windesheim”

Studenten geven presentatie



Students from Windesheim can follow an Honours Program in addition to their study program, in which they devise and elaborate technological solutions to social problems.

A group of students wanted to promote the safety of VIPs in traffic. In the end, they came up with the idea that a luminous cane was the best solution, which, moreover, can be realized in the short term.

The idea of a light-up cane is clearly spreading through the Universe!

They came to us through the “Eye Association” (a VIP interest group), and now we have 4 great members to contribute to our team.





About Windesheim
With over 22,000 students, thousands of students and 2,000 employees in the Zwolle and Almere locations, Windesheim is one of the larger Advanced Education Institutions in the Netherlands.

Windesheim is located in Zwolle, a historic city that dates from the 800’s.

Strategic policy
Windesheim wants to be among the top three of the major colleges in the Netherlands. How do we ensure this?

Mission and social mission
Our mission is to actively contribute to an inclusive and sustainable society, by training valuable professionals and conducting practice-oriented research. Giving as many talented people as possible the opportunity to follow higher education: that is the social mission of Windesheim. Regardless of origin, previous education, background or age: every student with talent counts and deserves the opportunity to fully develop.

This mission and social mission have been translated into three ambitions that determine the direction of Windesheim for the coming years:
1. every student has its own learning route that is personal, challenging and flexible;
2. the research at our university focuses on an inclusive and sustainable society;
3. we improve the flow of students in the education chain.

Honors Programs
Nobody knows what the world of tomorrow looks like. What we do know is that the world is complex and changeable and Windesheim is training the professionals of the future.

SightCity in Frankfurt am Main

On 8 May 2019, Debby visited SightCity, the largest trade show for VIP devices in Europe. There was an incredible amount to see, from traditional to super modern items such as obstacle detecting shoes and “Langstocken” (“Long Sticks” literally translated form German), tactile canes and identification canes.

Ontmoeting met producenten op SightCity.

Debby met some producers of beautiful white canes at the fair, and exchanged ideas with Mr. Bey from Comde Derenda.

Debby in gesprek met mobiliteitstrainer van een revalidatiecentrum.

The mobility trainers at the fair were very keen to inspect the Marchena Lightup Cane the moment they noticed Debby with it.


Make Health III

Thursday 18 April there was an exhibition of Make Health III in Contact 020.

Contact Amsterdam is a maker space aimed to support and promote sustainable projects.

Verschillende lichtgevende witte stokken


Presentation stand of the Marchena Light-up Cane













Impressie presentatie lichtgevende witte stokken



Debby is standing in front of the various light-emitting Blind Canes


















Lightupcane presentation on the open day at the Royal Visio

Debby’s Lightupcane was invited by Fred Boot, Employee Advice and Information, to present the luminous cane at Visio Heerhugowaard at the Open Visio Day. This was of course an invitation that we could not turn down.

The public found Debby’s invention “a real solution” for visibility of VIPs in the dark and in bad weather.

The table was well attended and we also received good feedback from VIPs and other visitors.

Most VIPs found the handle of the Lightupcane Blind Cane pretty slim, although some people found the edge where the plastic of the handle flows into the flashlight somewhat annoying. Certainly if you have to commute for a long time, it may rub the skin too much. With the new handle design, the cylinder has been extended to address this problem.

In general, the handle of the “Simple signalling Cane” was experienced as being extremely pleasant in the hand, although for some the handle seemed a bit large.

The signalling cane is just one meter long and equipped with a touch point. A lady who is not that tall wanted a Signalling cane like that, but with the “Gripper point” so she could connect her roller onto the Cane. What a great idea! We would not have come up so quickly ourselves. So you see again, the user ultimately decides how they want to use their Blind Cane themselves.

As a thank you for the invitation and for introducing as many VIPs as possible to the Lightupcane, we have donated a Lightupcane Blind Cane and also a signalling Cane.

We wish the entire Visio Team tons of fun with the Lightupcane. Fred immediately started testing the Cane (see photo at the top).

There were a large number of people who visited Visio because, for various reasons, had lost sight or were losing sight. Visio has an enormous amount of knowledge and resources for this target group to prepare the VIP for the future. During the day, Visio colleagues held several workshops and demonstrated the possibilities that Visio can facilitate. There is a wealth of knowledge within the team that is made entirely available to VIPs. The team really goes for it, very cool to be able to experience this up close.

Visio also gives workshops to do something with Art. In addition to the luminous Blind Cane and the and the Visio activities, there was also the exhibition by Rachel Kuipers. Rachel is a VIP whose vision continues to decline.

You could not ignore the artworks of Rachel’s exhibition when you entered. She works with colored wax on heated paper (A2 size hot plate!) And makes amazingly beautiful art.

The photo on the left is an impression, you can see the beauty of the composition well and you can see the detail a bit.

In real life the artworks are spectacularly detailed and the colors just stand out. You really can’t imagine how someone with such low vision with just pieces of colored wax can paint with this precision on a piece of paper on a hot plate.


It is exactly as Rachel says: “I don’t paint with my eyes, I paint with my heart and soul.”

The themes, the colors, the composition and the finesse of her work are ingenious and extremely artistic. This artist deserves respect and a wider stage!

You can admire Rachel’s work on her facebook page and also make an appointment to see and purchase her artwork. 







You can tell from the faces of Rachel and Robert Jan that it was a successful day! Chapeau for this beautiful couple and thanks for the Brownies (they were heavenly!)

Light Emitting Signalling Cane

During the Health Event, we were regularly asked if we would also provide a simpler entry-level signaling stick, so that the users can also get used to the newfangled appearance of the Marchena Cane.

This model is a lot easier to set up, not divisible, with a simpler design and easy to replace rechargeable battery. For emergencies you can also put in an Alkaline battery.

Marchena Cane is at the “Ziezo” VIP congress in Utrecht

The 23rd edition of the ZieZo exhibition takes place on Friday 15 and Saturday 16 March 2019. This exhibition is an event for everyone with a visual impairment, their family, friends, supervisors and everyone who has to do this professionally. In addition to an extensive and cozy exhibition floor, the visitor is also offered a scholarship program with presentations and workshops on broad social topics related to low-vision.

Debby is invited to show off her Marchena Cane. For Stand information, please follow this link. (Dutch only).


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

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.

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!

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.

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.

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 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)

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.