Brenna Argall, PhD - Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

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  • Only Hospital Ranked #1 in America by U.S. News & World Report since 1991
  • 800,000+ outpatient visits each year
  • 5,000+ inpatients treated each year, system-wide
  • 50+ sites of care throughout Illinois and Indiana
  • One of only 2% of hospitals to receive three consecutive Magnet Recognitions for Nursing Excellence.
  • 182-bed inpatient hospital in the heart of Chicago
  • Largest rehabilitation research center in the world
  • Only rehabilitation hospital with eight federally designated research centers
  • 370+ active research projects in neuroscience, bionics, robotics, and musculoskeletal medicine
  • Academic home of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Department, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

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Brenna D. Argall

Brenna D. Argall, PhD

  • Faculty Research Scientist, RIC
  • Assistant Professor, Feinberg School of Medicine, NU
  • June and Donald Brewer Junior Professor, EECS, McCormick School of Engineering, NU



Education, Residency and Internship


MCS, Carnegie Mellon University, BS, Mathematical Sciences
Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, MS, Robotics


National Institutes of Health, Post-Baccalaureate IRTA Fellowship
Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, Robotics Institute PhD Fellowship
Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, PhD, Robotics
Laboratory of Brain and Cognition, NIMH, NIH,, Post-Baccalaureate IRTA Fellow
École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Lausanne, Switzerland, Postdoctoral Fellow

Additional Information

Research Lab

Honors & Awards

  • 2011 (September): June and Donald Brewer Junior Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Northwestern University, Evanston, IL.



S. Jain, K. Barsness and B. Argall. Automated and Objective Assessment of Surgical Training: Detection of Procedural Steps on Videotaped Performances. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Digital Image Computing: Techniques and Applications (DICTA), Adelaide, Australia, November 2015.

S. Jain, A. Farshchiansadegh, A. Broad, F. Abdollahi, F. Mussa-Ivaldi and B. Argall. Assistive Robotic Manipulation through Shared Autonomy and a Body-Machine Interface. In Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics (ICORR), Singapore, August 2015.

B. D. Argall. Information Extraction under Communication Constraints within Assistive Robot Domains. In RSS Workshop on Model Learning for Human­Robot Communication, Rome, Italy, July 2015.

B. Argall. Turning Assistive Machines into Assistive Robots. In Proceedings of SPIE 9370, Quantum Sensing and Nanophotonic Devices XII, San Francisco, California, USA, February 2015. 


M. Derry and B. Argall. A Probabilistic Representation of User Intent for Assistive Robots. In IROS Workshop on Rehabilitation and Assistive Robotics, Chicago, Illinois, USA, September 2014.  

T. D. Murphey and B. D. Argall. Towards Software-Enabled Rehabilitation. In IROS Workshop on Rehabilitation and Assistive Robotics, Chicago, Illinois, USA, September 2014.  

S. Jain and B. Argall. Automated Perception of Safe and Oriented Docking Locations for Assistive Wheelchairs. In Proceedings of the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), Chicago, Illinois, USA, September 2014.  

B. D. Argall. Modular and Adaptive Wheelchair Automation. Proceedings of the International Symposium on Experimental Robotics (ISER), Marrakech, Morrocco, June 2014.  

M. Derry and B. Argall, "Extending Myoelectric Prosthesis Control with Shapable Automation: A First Assessment," In Proceedings of the ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI '14), Bielefeld, Germany, 2014.



A. Goil, M. Derry, and B. Argall, "Using Machine Learning to Blend Human and Robot Controls for Assisted Wheelchair Navigation," In Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics (ICORR '13), Seattle, WA, 2013.

M. Derry and B. Argall, “Automated doorway detection for assistive shared-control wheelchairs,” In Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA ’13), Karlsruhe, Germany. 2013.  

B. D. Argall. Machine Learning for Shared Control with Assistive Machines. In ICRA Workshop on Autonomous Learning: From Machine Learning to Learning in Real-world Autonomous Systems, Karlsruhe, Germany, May 2013.  



T. D. Murphey and B. D. Argall. Making Robotic Marionettes Perform. In ICRA Workshop on Robotics and Performance Arts: Reciprocal Influences, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, May 2012.  

B. D. Argall, M. Veloso, and B. Browning. Feedback for the Refinement of Learned Motion Control on a Mobile Robot  Under submission.

E. L. Sauser, B. D. Argall, G. Metta and A. G. Billard. Iterative Grasp Adaptation Learning with Tactile Corrections.  Robotics and Autonomous Systems.  To appear.


B. D. Argall, M. Veloso, and B. Browning. Teacher Feedback to Scaffold and Refine Demonstrated Motion Primitives on a Mobile Robot.  Robotics and Autonomous Systems, 59(3-4), 243-255, 2011.


B. D. Argall, E. L. Sauser and A. G. Billard. Tactile Guidance for Policy Adaptation. Foundation and Trends in Robotics,  1(2), 79-133 , 2010.

B. D. Argall and A. G. Billard. A Survey of Tactile Human-Robot Interactions. Robotics and Autonomous Systems. 58(10): 1159-1176, 2010.

2009 and prior

B. D. Argall, S. Chernova, M. Veloso, and B. Browning. A Survey of Robot Learning from Demonstration.  Robotics and Autonomous Systems,  57(5): 469-483, 2009.

B. D. Argall, Z. S. Saad, and M. S. Beauchamp. Simplified Intersubject Averaging on the Cortical Surface Using SUMA. Human Brain Mapping, 27(1):14-27, 2006.

M. S. Beauchamp, K. E. Lee, B. D. Argall, and A. Martin. Integration of Auditory and Visual Information about Objects in Superior Temporal Sulcus. Neuron, 41:809-823, 2003.

Research Interests

integrating human feedback into machine learning techniques that build robot motion control policies, and the blending of manual and automated control for assistive rehabilitation robots.

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