Heaven of God Ideas

Prototype mondkapje

Prototype Mondkapje

Crises and accidents are a cultural pressure cooker. They invite innovation. Super interesting!

For example, many individuals and maker communities are currently alleviating problems in healthcare. The famous issue of mouth masks and respirators, for example, is a matter of great concern. Suddenly there are too few. That is why people are busy devising alternatives themselves. Attempts can lead to innovation, especially by soaking together. Time will tell which attempts were successful and which go to Heaven of Good Ideas. You only know that afterwards.

If it turned out not to be such a good idea, you will enter a new phase. What do you learn from the feedback? Is it a matter of improving the elaboration of the idea to make it good, or can you send the idea to Heaven of Good Ideas?

The Heaven of Good Ideas has a predominantly positive atmosphere. So many attempts to improve the fate of people and animals, so much inventiveness, so much love!

Is there reason to be sad when a good idea turns out to be not so good? Is it bad to send an idea to heaven?
Yes and no.
Yes, because how nice would it have been if the problem with this invention had been solved?
No, because it is better to try seriously than to think in advance that it is not possible. We have learned new things. We may have met new people in the process and new ideas will bubble up. Only when we make it and try it out will we know if it can work. You only know if it is working properly if you have it tested.

I assume that the hard labor of Makers during this Corona crisis will yield so many usable and easy-to-produce masks and respirators that in the near future all of humanity will be better protected against subsequent outbreaks of viral respiratory infections. Also in economically disadvantaged areas.

Before that protection is actually there, a lot of iterations and “failures” and other learning moments are needed. We all need these. In this context it is therefore an honor if a mask goes to a gallery in the Heaven of Good Ideas.

I wish all Makers inspiration and success.
Thank you in advance for your hard work!

Nous maintiendrons!

Debby Marchen

Holman competition

Crossing the street with a LightupCane

Crossing the street with a LightupCane

Hello dear supporters,

I tried to make a video with a mild cold to participate in the Holman competition. The Holman Foundation is based in the United States, and they promote that blind and partially sighted people do interesting things. Well, I am of course still busy with the Marchena LightupCane.

Something didn’t go quite right, so that movie is (unfortunately) called “mijn film”, my movie. Yes, it will eventually be, well, just watch it.

Do you want to vote for my video?
How? Like the video



Please, could you share this message?

Presentation LightupCane at Symposium

Presentatie Lightupcane op Symposium

Presentatie Lightupcane op Symposium

Two teams of students gave a joint presentation about the DIY version of the Lightupcane. They have made it suitable for the blind. When the light comes on, or goes out, the blind user receives a vibrating and sound signal. If the cane falls it will beep until it is picked up. If it needs to be charged, we will receive a signal.
Super handy!

The intention is that second-year students of electrical engineering make the electronics smaller, so that the electronics should fit into any handle.

Announcement Symposium

Students at work

Students at work

At the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences 2 teams of students have made the DIY version of the Lightupcane user-friendly, and they have been selected to give a presentation at a symposium. There is a competition element in it. I am curious how high they will finish 🙂

Symposium: ‘Healthcare technology: not lulle maar bouwe’

January 22, 2020 Time: 13:00 – 17:00 Location:

Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, Rochussenstraat 198,

Local RS.00.311 (ground floor)

Everyone is welcome!l


Finishing Touches Improvements Lightupcane

Students at work

Finishing Touches

Students put the finishing touches to the improved prototypes of the Marchena Lightupcane. The presentation will take place during the Symposium “Healthcare technology: don’t talk but build” | January 22, 2020 of the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences

Kennisnetwerkbijeenkomst Zorgtech010


Managers at work

Manager at work

Managers at work

Manages at work, improving the LightupCane

Managers at work, improving the LightupCane

Members of the Executive Board and education managers met yesterday during Knowledge network meeting Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences (Kenniscentrum Zorginnovatie) ZorgTech010

In a short workshop they brainstormed about improvements to our Lightup cane. In this way they could experience a little how students approach it. Then Jasper, one of the students, gave a presentation of what they have improved so far. Very promising!

Make Health Open Evening at Waag

Geniuses at work

Geniuses at work




Prototyping anti-roll away

The first Make Health Open Evening took place on November 14 in the Waag Amsterdam. More than 10 technicians accepted the challenge of improving the Marchena Lightupcane in one evening. Surprising ideas came out. On the Photos you can see a small impression of a successful evening.

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.

Heroes and Friends of Amsterdam selected the Marchena Lightupcane for promotion

The Marchena Lightupcane project has been selected for the Heroes of Amsterdam program (Site is in Dutch only).

GoPro camera en hoesje


Work is currently underway on a genuine Virtual Reality 360-degree film about the luminous white cane.


On 20 June at 8 pm this film, with the other initiatives of Helden van Amsterdam, will premiere in Impact Hub in Amsterdam.

To be continued.

This camara will be used to capture the video of how the Marchena Lightup Cane actually works. The result will be a 360 degree movie!

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


















Impression of the ZieZo event

Debby had a lot of fun presenting the Lightupcane to the VIPs’ present and other interested parties, here are some impressions.


The visitors and the colleagues at the event stand have subjected the Lightupcane to close inspection and “Road Tests” for two days during the event.


People were positively impressed.

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!)

Marchena Cane is invited at the Royal Visio Event in Heerhugowaard

Royal Visio is the most prominent Dutch Organisation with the purpose to improve VIP Life, Social Inclusion and Mobility.

Debby is invited to present her invention to Visio and the visitors of the event. There are many more interesting presentations, For your Convenience we include the “Google Translated” Itenary of the event.

The even takes place in Saturday 16th of march 2019 from 11:00 until 15:00 hrs in Heerhugowaard, Netherlands; Address: Gildestraat 3, 1704 AG Heerhugowaard .


Seeing and not seeing Looking at the possibilities in daily functioning: what results in research into visual acuity, contrast, light, visual field and someone who is visually impaired.

Digital access to the world Smartphones, tablets and the latest iPhoneX: what meaning do they have in the lives of visually impaired or blind people? And what are the possibilities with enlargement and speech if you prefer to work on your PC or laptop? What can home automation give you if you see little or nothing?

From despair to hope What will change in your life if everything you did and considered important is no longer self-evident? If you have to say goodbye to your old way of life and look for a new interpretation, it hurts. What would change in your life if you become blind or visually impaired? That is what we think about.

A poorly sighted or blind child You develop as a child and participate fully in a world that you do not yet understand. How do you do that? And how can your environment best support you in this? The youth team specialists tell you all about it.

Making everyday life easier is not expensive or complicated. Experience the challenges you encounter in everyday activities such as reading and drinking when you are visually impaired. Discover how simple solutions sometimes are, what strategies you can use and what can be done with color, contrast or light.

Braille What function does Braille still have in the digital world? Why do blind children still learn braille? Experience for yourself how and why Braille is still being used.

Blind experience garden Heukelshof Birds ‘looking’ without seeing, that is possible in the Blindentuin de Heukelshof in Alkmaar. On the open day they are present with an experience table.

Encaustic Art During her rehabilitation trajectory at Visio, Rachel discovered Encaustic Art (painting with beeswax). A painting technique that can also be used non-visually. Old revalidant Rachel shows the effect of visual rehabilitation with her paintings. During the open day Rachel opens her exhibition on the ground floor of Visio in Heerhugowaard. She gives demos on the spot and is available for questions. View Rachel’s Facebook page.

Test the luminous stick Debby Machena is busy developing a stick with lighting / luminous stick. On the open day she is present with trial models for demo and to try out. She would like to receive feedback from other stick users. More information can be found on the website lightupcane.

You do not just look with your eyes (but also with your brain). Experience yourself what it is like to orientate yourself with limited vision and to walk in an (outside) space that you do not know. And discover the added value of visual training in case of visual field failure (eg by hemianopia).

Meet and greet with Visio professionals and experience experts 

What does work advice mean for Visio? Nathalie van der Linden, expert experience manager answers questions about getting to work and staying with a visual impairment. What do you need? And how can the professionals of Visio support this?

What role does social work in an organization have for visually impaired and blind people?

Ambulant living support is focused support in promoting the self-reliance of people with a visual impairment who live independently. Who are these professionals and what can they mean for visually impaired and blind people?

You can also use your professionalism for visually impaired and blind people.

Are you interested in working at Royal Visio? View our vacancies and engage in conversation with our professionals.

Activities for children Children can collect points during the route through the building by solving questions or doing an experience assignment. From all good solutions the winner is drawn who, together with family or friends, wins an experience at Blindentuin de Heukelshof in Alkmaar.


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).


Sam’s review of the updated Marchena Cane

In this video Sam reviews the updated Marchena Cane. It is a spontaneous review during a live stream and we enjoyed seing Sam react to the improvements and brain storm his ideas about how we can improve for the next versions.

We aim to blow Sam away when we send him the newest innovations next time.

What difference a Maker can make!

What may not so obvious is that Sam’s original cane was adapted by Jesse Estridge, a maker in Lexington Kentucky where Sam lives.

Jesse adapted the cane using very basic instructions and the 3D print files. Three cuts, some epoxy glue and presto!

This is so amazing! The result proves that any maker can build adapt and enhance the Marchena Cane.

You can click on the image to visit Jesse Estridges website.

Sam’s review (you may want to scroll to min 11:00)

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 careables.org. 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.


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!

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.

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.