Distinguished Seminar Series: Brenna Argall
September 20, 2022
Assistive Autonomy Revisited
Thursday, September 22
Zoom only (contact Hope Lewis for access)
As need increases, access decreases. It is a paradox that as human motor impairments become more severe, and increasing assistance needs are paired with decreasing motor abilities, the very machines created to provide this assistance become less and less accessible to operate with independence. My lab addresses this paradox by incorporating robotics autonomy and intelligence into physically-assistive machines: leveraging robotics autonomy, to advance human autonomy. Achieving the correct allocation of control between the human and the autonomy is essential, and critical for adoption. The allocation must be responsive to individual abilities and preferences, that moreover can be changing over time, and robust to humanmachine information flow that is filtered and masked by motor impairment and control interface. As we see time and again in our work and within the field: customization and adaptation are key, and so the opportunities for machine learning are clear. This talk will overview a sampling of ongoing projects and studies in my lab, with a focus on alternate paradigms for delivering assistive autonomy.
Brenna Argall is an associate professor of Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering, and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at Northwestern University. She is director of the assistive & rehabilitation robotics laboratory (argallab) at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab (formerly the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago), the #1 ranked rehabilitation hospital in the United States. The mission of the argallab is to advance human ability by leveraging robotics autonomy. Argall is a 2016 recipient of the NSF CAREER award, and was named one of the 40 under 40 by Crain’s Chicago Business. Her Ph.D. in Robotics (2009) was received from the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, as well as her B.S. in Mathematics (2002). Prior to joining Northwestern and RIC, she was a postdoctoral fellow (2009-2011) at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), and prior to graduate school she held a Computational Biology position at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). More recently, she was a visiting fellow at the Wyss Center for Bio and Neuroengineering in Geneva, Switzerland (2019).