UC Berkeley Disability Lab
AKA RadMad Lab at Cal – “Making Better Crips” since 2018
ABOUT THE LAB
The Nakamura Disability Lab is one of UC Berkeley’s well-kept secrets tucked away inside one end of the Hearst Annex complex. With its mission of “Making Better Crips,” the lab has been operational since 2018 and led by Prof. Karen Nakamura, the endowed chair for Disability Studies and Professor of Anthropology. The lab was formed as a nexus for disability research, media, and design in the Bay Area. It combines the functions of a purposefully-accessible and cross-disability inclusive makerspace, research lab, and teaching space.
MAKING BETTER CRIPS
“Crips” comes from the derogatory term “crippled.” Turning the term back on itself is a way to acknowledge the history, movement and culture behind disability rights. The lab aims to make lives better for disabled people, especially through the development of assistive technology.
Student URAP Projects
Accessibility for disabled students at the UC Berkeley campus is outdated, unclear, and difficult to navigate. The solution is a free, open-source mapping and navigation app that embodies the knowledge and ways of disabled students and professors.
Makerspace tools (Arduino, etc.) are inaccessible for the blind or motor impaired. The solution is an integrated development environment (IDE) that does not use a screen/keyboard/mouse for teaching early learners coding and robotics.