Universal Design Lab

Department of Manufacturing and Civil Engineering

Universal Design Lab

The Norwegian Universal Design Research Laboratory opened in 2010 and is today the largest of its kind in Europe. At the laboratory, we focus on increased accessibility and solutions that provide equal access and equal opportunity to people. Thus, we study all matters related to vision, hearing and mobility regarding buildings, outdoor areas, transport and design. Our overall aim is to help our government achieve the goal of Norway being universally designed by 2025. 

Picture of student with wheelchair

Access and opening hours

The laboratory opens at request for experimental studies and/or loan of equipment. Please contact Jonny Nersveen (jonny.nersveen@ntnu.no/+4793445121), Anne Britt Torkildsby (anne.torkildsby@ntnu.no/+4790193139) or Alf Dalby (alf.dalby@ntnu.no/+4790542714) to schedule an appointment.


The lab is, amongst others, equipped for studying our senses – such as hearing and vision, full-scale testing, traditional model building, and giving lectures – both “real life” and via multiple streaming cameras. Additionally, we have access to 3D printing on campus (see the ‘Laboratory for Additive Manufacturing’ for more information). In sum, these facilities make it possible to conduct research and lecturing, both practical and theoretical, on the relationship between humans and the built environment.

Security awareness training

Staff and students are required to undertake mandatory training, i.e. an online HSE-course, before entering the lab. Please contact Kenneth Kalvåg (kenneth.kalvag@ntnu.no/91829570) to register for a course. In addition, individual training must be carried out on each tool/instrument before giving them access to use.

Ongoing research projects

  • Research, development and testing of space saving bathroom concepts for the health and care services sector
  • Research on bathroom concept in terms of workload and working environment for nurses, etc. (in collaboration with KTH)
  • Research on friction of various indoors and outdoors walking surfaces (in collaboration with Sintef)
  • Feasibility studies of universal design regarding building codes, standards and guidelines in the Nordic countries (PhD candidate)
  • Feasibility studies of tactile graphics in the built environment
  • Three-year Erasmus+ project entitled "Towards Inclusive eLearning: Improving Accessibility of eLearning in Higher Education from Universal Design for Learning perspective" (TINEL) (a strategic partnership with the universities of Häme, York and Lund, among others)
  • Critical design applied in various (universal) design contexts, e.g. empathy and product related stigma. The research includes formulation, testing and redevelopment of design methodologies for use in university education and real-life projects – where the aim is to design products, services, buildings, environments, etc. with human comfort and well-being in focus
  • One-year capacity-building project focusing on universal design approaches in product design education (in collaboration with Oslo Metropolitan University)
  • University textbook on lighting and visual impairments
  • University textbook on exterior lighting and visual impairments
  • Research literature review on the topic of visual contrasts
  • Research on accessible color coding and color contrasts for color vision deficient observers (PhD candidate)

Innovation and entrepreneurship

To reflect the global demographic and social shifts, i.e. population, ageing, immigration, etc., the wider issues of equality and diversity shape our research strategy. By conducting theoretical and practise-based research, we aim to contribute to the body of knowledge for the field of Universal Design. In addition, we help equipping the next generation of designers, engineers, etc. with adequate methods and tools enabling them to deliver “Design for Diversity”, etc. when initiating, planning and executing future projects.


Please visit our blog (published only in Norwegian): https://www.ntnu.no/blogger/forsklab-universell-utforming/category/universell-utforming/

Follow us on Twitter: @uu_lab_ntnu

Where is the laboratory?

Where is the laboratory?

Map: Universal Design Lab

Visiting adress: Mustad Næringspark, Raufossvegen 40, Gjøvik.



Jonny Nersveen
Associate Professor
Anne Britt Torkildsby
Associate Professor