Faculty Directory
Brenna Argall

Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and Mechanical Engineering


2145 Sheridan Road
Tech Room M194
Evanston, IL 60208-3109

847-467-0862Email Brenna Argall


Brenna Argall's Homepage

Assistive & Rehabilitation Robotics Laboratory (argallab)


Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Mechanical Engineering


Master of Science in Robotics Program

Download CV


Ph.D. in Robotics, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA

M.S. in Robotics, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA

B.S. in Mathematical Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA

Research Interests

It is a paradox that often the more severe a person's motor impairment, the more challenging it is for them to operate the very assistive machines which might enhance their quality of life. A primary aim of my lab is to address this confound by incorporating robotics autonomy and intelligence into assistive machines---turning the machine into a kind of robot, and offloading some of the control burden from the user to the machine. Robots already synthetically sense, act in and reason about the world, and these technologies can be leveraged to help bridge the gap left by sensory, motor or cognitive impairments in the users of assistive machines.

My research lies at the intersection of artificial intelligence, rehabilitation robotics and machine learning. A distinguishing theme present within many of my lab's projects is that the machine automation is customizable---to a user's physical abilities, personal preferences or even financial means. A fundamental question that arises time and again throughout many of our projects is how exactly to share control between the robot and the human user, and how to adapt these control formulations over time as the human changes. We are working with a range of hardware platforms, from a smart wheelchair to assistive robotic arms.

Selected Publications

  • Argall, Brenna D., “Turning assistive machines into assistive robots”, Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering, (2015)
  • Argall, Brenna; Jain, Siddarth, “Automated perception of safe docking locations with alignment information for assistive wheelchairs”, IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, (2014)
  • Pais, Ana Lucia; Argall, Brenna D.; Billard, Aude G., “Assessing Interaction Dynamics in the Context of Robot Programming by Demonstration”, International Journal of Social Robotics, (2013)