Innovating for People with Disabilities
The Human Engineering Research Labs (HERL) is often referred to as an innovators’ playground by developing trainees and seasoned professionals alike. HERL boasts a 40,000 square-foot space including 15,000 sq ft of open lab space and a 10,000 sq ft machine shop with state-of-the-art machining, welding, rapid prototyping and electronics design and fabrication facilities and equipment. What makes this space special is the inclusive environment that it creates—all spaces are communal, meaning no space is principal investigator-specific, and fully accessible for persons with disabilities. There are classroom spaces amidst the lab and machining equipment to optimize experiential learning opportunities. The lab is equal parts innovation- and training-driven, allowing everyone from high school interns, to undergraduate researchers to graduate fellows to high school science teachers to military veterans to learn the fundamentals of user-centered rehabilitation engineering design.