Norwegian Research Laboratory for Universal Design
The Norwegian Research Laboratory for Universal Design is the largest of its kind in Europe. At the laboratory, all matters related to vision, hearing and mobility with regard to buildings, outdoor areas, transport and design are studied.
The findings contribute to the knowledge platform on ‘Universal Design’, i.e.
...the design of products, environments, programmes and services to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design (UNs Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, 2006),
Universal Design is a significant component for sustainable life and social development in society.
Availability for everyone
One year after the Norwegian government, by the Ministry of Children and Equality, published an action plan for universal design and increased accessibility in 2009; the laboratory was established and fully equipped for research. Amongst others, the laboratory offers facilities for studying our senses – such as hearing and vision, full-scale testing, workshops, rapid prototyping as well as traditional model building, and educational purposes. Together, these facilities make it possible to carry out research and lecturing in both theoretical and practical levels.
Today, 42 of the academic staff at NTNU-Gjøvik – ranging from professors to laboratory engineers, are involved in the laboratory-based investigations. In cases where the required resources or expertise is not available, the laboratory seeks external help. The interdisciplinary research, moreover, brings forces from the department of health and social, design/architecture, building construction technology, ICT/smart home technology, social sciences, media technology, etc. together towards a common goal: a universally designed society.
«We aim to develop future products and services, buildings, indoor and outdoor environments – based on the different user groups’ needs and extensive series of tests amongst other things.»