Human Centered Design Studio

This campaign ended on May 11, 2019, but you can still make a gift to Colorado School of Mines by clicking here!

All good stories start with “Once upon a time…”

Once upon a time, individuals with disabilities – physical, sensory, cognitive - were told that they would never again be able do thisthat, or the other thing. They were told to stay at home, out of sight, and to accept their fate. Over time, these people and their allies began to ask "Why?"

The mission of the Human Centered Design Studio (HCDS) at the Colorado School of Mines is to enable individuals, particularly those with disabilities, to try new activities and/or push their performance limits for the sports and recreation in which they are already involved. If people have the will and determination to try something new, or become better at what they are doing, then they shouldn't be held back by lack of suitable equipment or access to technology.

Unfortunately, this equipment is often expensive, limited in availability, and in some cases, rudimentary and lacking in engineering design. In HCDS, we create that equipment and cutting-edge technology, and we make it accessible. We enable individuals with a variety of disabilities to:

  • enjoy downhill mountain biking
  • work out in the climbing gym independently
  • ski and snowboard at and above the level of non-impaired athletes
  • climb the tallest mountains and cliffs
  • ski and snowboard in the backcountry
  • raft and kayak raging rivers
  • mountain bike away from civilization
  • hike mountain trails with their families
  • navigate in a non-urban environment with little or no assistance
  • go wherever their imagination can take them

Fall 2018 Highlighted Projects

  • Once upon a time, a 5 year old girl Lydia with severe cerebral palsy (CP) was unable to easily go on bike rides with her family in Boulder, Colorado due to her wheelchair and her seizures. HCDS is creating equipment to safely take Lydia on biking trails with her family.
  • Once upon a time, individuals with visual impairments were unable to use climbing walls at the gym. Students in HCDS are creating climbing holds that can track a climber's position on a wall and audibly alert a climber of where the next hold is. 
  • Once upon a time, HCDS had difficulty testing and verifying prosthetic feet due to lack of equipment. We are creating our own gait simulator to test the prostheses we create to help dancers, skiers, and others get back on their feet and into new adventures.

Your gift will help us end these stories with "…happily ever after." 

We need your support to produce devices that go beyond prototypes and are ready for use by those who need them. This fall there are over 30 students working on a variety of adaptive sports equipment projects in HCDS. As with most new endeavors, we are operating on a shoestring budget. Funds raised will be used to purchase raw materials, components, and supplies, to develop testing and verification equipment for our designs, travel to meet with partners and show our devices at meetings, and if possible to produce multiple copies of devices for additional people.

You can donate to one of the highlighted projects above, or to HCDS as a whole to support our mission. We appreciate your interest and hope that you will choose to support us in our work. Please don't hesitate to learn more or reach out to us via this campaign page or


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Donor affiliations

8% Alumnus/a

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8% Faculty/Staff

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21% Friends

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24% Parents

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13% Students

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Donor list

Julie Johnson
Paulo Rafael Fortu
Jon A Leydens
Angela Wolf & Chris wolf
Hauser Family
Katharine Van Hoesen & David Van Hoesen
Kevin C Spence & Julie Spence
rachelle trujillo
Diane Martin & Jim
Kathryn C Duvall
Charlotte wurth
Kim Van Hoesen & Ted Van Hoesen
Al Kantra & Leslie
Larry R. Boll
Zen Rusin
Lauren Wilson
Diego M Vivot & Mariana E Pereda
Brittany P Marshall
Tracy Barger & Joe
Human Centered Design Studio
Nicholas R Garland
Kayley Rueger
Carter Wurth
Renee Wurth
Ray Wurth
Felicity MeuFelicity Meu photo
Ronald E Lamb
Dan Jensen & Kathy
Joel M Bach

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An Anonymous Donor gave $250 because 10 donors made a gift in 199 days.