UC Berkeley Disability Lab

AKA RadMad Lab at Cal – “Making Better Crips” since 2018

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.

“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

Some doors are not wheelchair accessible for students and professors.


Accessibility for disabled students at the UC Berkeley campus is outdated, unclear, and difficult to navigate.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.

Magnetic tactile coding blocks for the blind to program a robot.


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.

Latest Posts

6 months ago

RadMad Disability Lab at UC Berkeley
The lab wants to (belatedly) thank everyone who donated during Cal’s Big Give a couple weeks ago! With your help, we raised almost one thousand dollars! All of us from Hearst-Annex thank you and are hyped to use your funds to make our space even RAD-er & MAD-er![ID: Thank you card on a cerulean-esque blue background. In the center of the page is a photo, in an oval frame, of lab members with big smiles, making hearts with their hands. Nate, in the middle of the photo, holds a laser-printed circular wooden sign with the ADA symbol of access, with the first half of the wheelchair replaced by half a heart (it’s very cute). The photo has a navy and gold christmas light graphic at the top of the card. Underneath the photo, text reads: “Big Thanks Big Give Donors from RadMadLab!” To the right of this text is the lab’s mascott, Skuzzy the bear, holding a pink heart ballon with their right paw]#biggive #berkeley #calbiggive #ucberkeley #radmadlab #disabilitycentereddesign See MoreSee Less
New Episode! 🎉spotifyanchor-web.app.link/e/gKzgPRbykybThis episode features Nate Tilton from RadMad Disability Lab at UC Berkeley! The Disability Lab is an accessible and disability-inclusive makerspace. We discuss the origins of the lab, how it serves as an identity makerspace, the accessibility of the lab’s design and equipment, and the projects that have been done and are currently being done within the space. The Disability Lab serves as a model for what other universities should be doing to increase accessibility and inclusion on campuses. Nate and I also discuss disability and higher education during our conversation. Take a listen! See MoreSee Less

Contact Us

Email: disabilitylab@berkeley.edu

Lab Location: Hearst Annex D-1

1 Map