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Center for Design Research (CDR) is a community of scholars focused on understanding and augmenting engineering design innovation and design education. 

Founded in 1984, CDR is a nexus for PhD students and researchers collaborating in the realm of design thinking, robotics, rehabilitative technologies, engineering design education, STEM education, neurodesign and business innovation.

CDR research laboratories are headed by Professors Larry Leifer (CDR Director), Mark Cutkosky, Allison Okamura, and Sheri Sheppard (Co-Directors).

Our labs and research interests


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The Biomimetics and Dexterous Manipulation Lab (BDML), led by Professor Mark Cutkosky, conducts research activities that include modeling and control of dextrous manipulation with robotic and teleoperated hands; force and tactile feedback in telemanipulation and virtual environments; and design and control of compliant "biomimetic" robots with embedded sensors and actuators.


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Researchers in the Collaborative Haptics and Robotics in Medicine Lab (CHARM Lab), led by Professor Allison Okamura, design and study haptic systems using both analytical and experimental approaches. This research has applications in robot-assisted surgery, simulation and training, rehabilitation, exploration of hazardous or remote environments, enabling technologies, manufacturing, design, mobile computing, and education. 


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The Designing Education Lab (DEL), led by Professor Sheri Sheppard, investigates a broad range of engineering education topics, from the persistence of students and alumni in engineering fields to the impact of exposure to entrepreneurship on engineering students' career interests.


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Prof. Larry Leifer's  DesignX community is composed of members arriving from a diverse range of disciplines, including sociology, product design, neuroscience, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, economics, business and architecture. The initiatives within DesignX lab consist of:  Design Thinking Research,  lnteraction Design (IxD) Group, NeuroDesignScience Program,  Business Design Research, Food Design Research, Foresign Design Research, Resiliience Design Research, Human Innovation Design Engineering research group, and Stanford Center for  Innovation & Design Research.




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