Person Environment Activity Research Laboratory


Health: How PEARL can help you

Find out how PEARL is helping government through different projects and innovative ideas.

Changing the nature of research

With its ability to simulate different environmental conditions, whether lighting, acoustics or smell, PEARL is changing the nature of health-related research, from neurology and psychology, to ophthalmology, audiology and orthopaedics. Our ability to conduct life-sized environmental experiments under controlled conditions means that researchers are no longer limited to the artificial setup of the traditional laboratory and can understand how our senses and the brain respond to stimuli in more realistic environments.​

Testing existing assistive devices

Our ability to simulate environmental conditions also allows us to test existing assistive devices. For example, we have been assisting audiological researchers and clinicians from around the UK to understand how hearing works in a variety of real-world environments, such as in a restaurant or railway station. This enables us to test and improve the effectiveness of devices such as hearing aids.​

More holistic approaches to therapy

By better integrating assistive devices into their urban contexts, we can also improve the design of the city as a whole, making it more accessible to those with different mobility, cognitive or sensorial capabilities. By designing cities which are more sympathetic to these needs, we can utilise the urban environment as a form of therapy.

Designing ‘health-giving’ environments

Our long term objective is to inform the design of the built environment so that it can provide a positive impact on health and wellbeing. For example, by making walking more comfortable and attractive, we can achieve the benefits of increased physical exercise as well as improve air quality and reduce stress levels. This will allow us to use urban design to improve health and wellbeing and work towards the prevention of illness and disease, rather than a cure.

Types of Health-related Projects

See our Projects page to discover some examples of our work.