Can we bring fun, joy, and connection with friends through the use of an accessibility tool to fight discrimination and stigmas? When people typically see an accessibility device they may back off due to stigmas, worry or fear.  I am exploring whether a connection or sense of belonging mitigates the negative effect of discrimination. In order to do this, I am hoping to create a child-friendly accessibility device. For this project, I  am hoping to upgrade the long white cane designs with modern pop culture references and sci-fi fantasy designs. I am a blind student and my favorite fandoms are Harry Potter & Star Wars. Therefore, for my first two designs, I am intending to use the Sword of Godric Gryffindor & a  Lightsaber. After perfecting the manufacturing process I am hoping to expand my design range to include other famous swords and lightsaber options. 


“A photo of a woman using a cane while looking at a mobile phone has been widely shared online with many social media users suggesting the woman is faking her visual impairment.” This viral social media post shows the public’s lack of basic knowledge when dealing with disabilities. The post has led to many people explaining that mobiles and other technology can be used by visually impaired people. There are different levels of blindness and the decision to use a cane is a personal matter. However, some people have experience with people accusing them of faking or exaggerating their disability “for extra privileges”. The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) said it often hears of people facing prejudice and discrimination for just doing daily tasks of life. “We need to educate social media users and wider society as a whole as to the harm that posts like this can cause – ill-informed stories and ignorant reactions to them can really dent the self-confidence of blind and partially sighted people.” 

Sometimes when you are out and about you struggle to keep up with your friends or family. It sometimes is important to act as a human guide for your visually impaired friend or family member. A human guide is a guide that acts as a person’s eyes. It is done to help accelerate tasks and avoid injury. One of the most important rules as a human guide is to äsk not grab”. This is referring to when you notice someone needing help. Instead of just going up and grab them to assist. It is polite to introduce yourself and ask if they need help and then proceed accordingly. When giving verbal directions it is important to be descriptive with tasks. For example, saying Ï I’m right here” is not very helpful. Stating, Ï is two steps to the left, next to the pole is more helpful. The five most important obstacles are curbs, stairs. Potholes, poles, and walls. Sometimes holding onto an arm or hand is more helpful than verbal directions. 

According to the “the social complexities of disability”.  It is found that life satisfaction is lower among youth with a disability. Moreover, many experience disability-related discrimination, which has a negative effect on life satisfaction. However, this is mitigated by a sense of belonging to the community. Specifically, youth with a disability do not report lower life satisfaction when high belonging is present, even if they experience .”

The objective of my project is to assist in discrimination elimination, inclusion and to make an accessibility tool a source of connection. I feel that the white cane design is very outdated. It is a stick that design has barely changed since its invention. I feel that by utilizing pop culture & sci-fi references in tools, that nondisabled users will be more inclusive and connective towards disabled people. I will accomplish the project by designing a few pop-culture related – children friendly – white long cane for the visually impaired. I intend to complete the project through 3D printing and aluminum casting. I will be utilizing several software and applications to create designs and mocks of my cane in order to print. In October of 2018, I unexpectedly lost my vision due to a rare uncurable eye condition called Retinal Pigmintosis.  I have very limited vision in one of my eyes. I am very disappointed with the designs and accessibility features that exist. After graduation, I am hoping to create an accessibility friendly design company. I would like to design trendy and more useful wheelchairs as well as hearing aids. I am an avid nerve and my wardrobe consists of mostly fandom clothing. When using my white cane I feel very self-conscious. It definitely does not match my wardrobe. Upon researching, I found that the product I was looking for simply does not exist. In the future, I hope to be an Imagineer for The Walt Disney Company. I want to specialize in ride accessibility and park upgrades. As a New Media major – I am constantly exposed to new trends and emerging technologies. I feel that my design idea is unique and one of a kind. I hope that by having fandom-related white canes – that it will inspire more visually impaired people to start using canes. I feel that accessibility designs and inventions are decades behind sighted inventions. I hope that I am able to create more unique products for a marginalized group of people. My community of users would be primarily children and young adults. The canes would be individually printed based on the user’s height and tip preferences. I feel that my design helps reach a niche of people who are on the spectrum of vision loss and inspire higher use of accessibility devices when needed as a tool. As this group of people is typically discriminated against and excluded from peer groups – I feel that this project is a game changer for low vision, vision impaired and blind children. I feel that due to my very low vision and legally blind status, that I am highly knowledgeable in the struggles and advantages of using a cane. I feel that the benefits of cane use are life-changing for transportation,  independence and growth. 




Research at least three existing projects that come closest to solving the problem you mention. What do they do right? Where do they fall short?

Attached picture (b) is a hand made product on Etsy called Cane sock. This is a sleeve made for stability canes. The sleeve slips over an existing design to allow custom and changeable design outputs. This is a great solution to making accessibility options more friendly and visually pleasing. However, it fails to convey to nonvisual users as there is no textile design that can be felt. The sleeve also does not sti ck well to the cane and sometimes falls off. They do not make these yet for long white canes. 

Image (c)  attached is a Confetti Cane Bling. This design allows for you to bedazzle your cane with rhinestones. It is definitely a creative approach to de4corating a case. I do appreciate that it has a textile, touch-based texture, and so blind users may find this attractive. However, with stickers, they can be flimsy. They can be difficult to install for users that can not see. The jewelry reflects light and people who suffer from impaired vision tend to have light sensitivities. I feel that light reflection could be annoying and even dangerous for users that are visually impaired. 


The We Walk cane pictured below is a redesigned cane that is smart. “Since the beginning of the white cane usage it never got innovated and visually impaired individuals faced problems like coming across above chest obstacles. WeWALK solves this problem and adds more to it through smartphone integration.”This device has many high tech features. “WeWALK detects obstacles above the chest level with the ultrasonic sensor and warns with vibration. When paired with the WeWALK application, actions such as getting navigation can be performed on WeWALK easily without taking the phone at hand. Each integration developed for WeWALK brings new features with software updates. We WALK is integrated with Voice Assistant and Google Maps. (We walk). This cane is a revolutionary game-changer for the blind community. Its overhead features allow assistance with tree branches and objects not known when swiping on the floor, The integrated Google Maps and location feature is a life changer. This product is sweeping waves for the blind. However, while smart, this device has a pretty hefty price tag of $499. Meaning that it is simply unfordable to the majority of the blind community. The site does have a charity feature and option to purchase for friends or anonymously. 



When choosing a white can – most people assume that it comes in white color. They would be very wrong, The cane comes in a wide variety of colors. It also has interchangeable colored tips. If you have a hearing disability then you can have two red stripes on the bottom of your cane to let others know of your hearing impairments. 

There are many different types of canes that currently exist. There is a support cane that provides physical stability. A support cane that is white can identify you as a person who is blind or has low vision that also needs stability assistance.  The probing cane, more commonly called a “white cane” or a “long cane”, probes for and locates obstacles in your path of travel. 


Long white canes come in two categories ones that fold and ones that don’t. Folding canes, which can be collapsed and stored easily, come in aluminum or graphite models. Graphite canes are lighter and easier to fold and unfold than aluminum ones. Folding canes tend to be less sturdy when compared to straight canes and don’t provide the same amount of sensory feedback. There are different types of tips that provide different sensory feedback. The differences between the tips are their ease of use, ability to pass through different surfaces and weight. 


 The pencil tip is a, straight piece of plastic on the bottom of a cane, It does not provide very much feedback compared to other cane tips. It is often used just for identification purposes to alert others of their condition. The pencil tip is very light and is a good choice for people who have problems moving the wrist for long periods of time. However, due to the long, thin tip it has a tendency to get stuck in cracks in the sidewalk. 


The rolling mushroom tip has a small rounded bottom, like an upside-down mushroom. The rolling marshmallow tip can rotate 360 degrees. It is the most common cane tips. It allows for users to go across a variety of surfaces with ease and has  constant contact with the ground. It rolls over cracks in the sidewalk, making for a smoother walk. The cane does have a greater weight and can cause wrist fatigue over time. It also does not provide much feedback about small changes in terrain.


The medal glider tip is a thin and flat silver colored metal disk that screws on to the bottom of the cane. This cane tip is used in the signature National Foundation for the Blind rigid white cane. This is typically favored by many people  because it goes against any surface with ease and it also gives quality audio feedback. This cane is very light and provides easy use. 


The ball tip rotates similar to the marshmallow tip. However, It is much larger in size. The ball tips can range in size and some may be as big as the size of an orange. This cane is typically used as a learning cane. It is also great for long periods of time and is very durable; however, the cane can be pretty heavy. It works best when used with constant contact techniques. 


The “bundu basher” cane tip was invented in South Africa by O&M specialists Beverly Atkinson and Andre Neimandt. It was created for the use of navigating the uneven bush country. In Afrikaans, they call the bush country Bundu. The original version of this cane just added a rounded crook on the bottom of the cane.  The Bundu basher resembles the bottom of a hockey stick. Therefore some people name it the hockey tip. It also refers to as a snow cane or all-terrain cane. The curved tip of the Bundu Basher is less likely to catch on any obstructions. This cane has been developed for travel in wilderness areas and farms. 

The is another off-roading adventure type of cane. The Dakota snow tip has a frisbee shaped tip. It is great for rolling across snow covered surfaces. This cane is very similar to the rolling of the marshmallow tip. The Dakota snow tip has a Hook-style cane tip. It was designed with uneven terrain in mind. It is used for mobility canes but is not adaptable with support canes.  The tip is meant for uneven terrain such as snow, sand, grass, pea gravel (schoolyards), etc. 


Some canes offer visible night time features. You will find that there are canes that have night glow which will slightly change the rod to glow at night. Other canes will use reflective tape to make visible. There are also LED-based cane tips. The LED light allows for assistance with traveling at night and is a favorite for little kids. Some canes even flash every time they hit the ground. 


Despite most white canes being – white. The tips of these canes do come in a variety of colors. The common colors include white, red, pink, green, and many more. The choice of using colored or non-colored tips is a preference made by the user. 




My approach to my project is to learn more about design, 3d printing, and 3d printing color theory. Once learned I intend to learn 3d modeling and design software through online tutorials and webcasts. I intend to work on my promotional material early and advertise my product online. I am hoping to get media attention and to get official support from Disney & Warner Brother Studios – to use their trademarks in my accessibility products. I intend to learn more about prototyping.  I am very innovative and I am hoping to bring an idea from conception to life. I am hoping that my design and unique product will inspire and connect people of all abilities. I hope that my designs and innovative use of fandoms into accessibility tools will create a movement to make more merchandise that is accessible friendly. 


Research how you would build your solution, and then write a to-do list of at least 20 tasks required. In place of a few vague ambitions, show that you have thought through the process by listing numerous narrow tasks, eg: 20 tasks – 5 sub-tasks – 5 secondary subtasks 




Attached is my itemized budget request with practical resources, supplemental contributions, and sponsors. I am willing to front the cost of the majority of the project. I am needing financial assistance in my request for aluminum casting,  software licenses, installation, promotion, and 3d printing materials and resources.



Cane Sock/Walking Cane Cover/Cane Sleeve/Decorative Cane Cover/Mobility Aid/Military/Floral/Sport/Breast Cancer/Fall/Christmas, Stitched4UByTrippy2 5 Out of 5 Stars , sleeve&ref=sr_gallery-1-1&frs=1.


Etsy, Confetti Cane Bling Walking Cane Accessory Cane Sock Cane Image 0 Confetti Cane Bling Walking Cane Accessory Cane Sock Cane Image 0 Confetti Cane Bling Walking Cane Accessory Cane Sock Cane Image 1 Confetti Cane Bling Walking Cane Accessory Cane Sock Cane Image 2 Confetti Cane Bling Walking Cane Accessory Cane Sock Cane Image 3 FromtheheartbyMary , sleeve&ref=sc_gallery-1-2&plkey=a62fa16ab1b27fef990ae022f76b6e572ae787df:573760901&frs=1.


We Walk,


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