Episode 155: How Will AI Help Help Humans with Mobility?

Meet the Expert: Dr. Brenna Argall, robotics engineer

Dr. Brenna ArgallDr. Argall is an associate professor of Mechanical EngineeringComputer Science, and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at Northwestern University. Her research lies at the intersection of robotics autonomy, machine learning and human rehabilitation. She is director of the assistive & rehabilitation robotics laboratory (argallab) at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, the nation’s premier rehabilitation hospital. 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, where she was a member of the CORAL Research Group. Her B.S. in Mathematics (2002) also was received from Carnegie Mellon, where she minored in Music and Biological Sciences. Prior to joining Northwestern and RIC, she was a postdoctoral fellow (2009-2011) in the Learning Algorithms and Systems Laboratory at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). Prior to graduate school she held a Computational Biology position in the Laboratory of Brain & Cognition at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).


Shirley Ryan Ability Lab

Learn more about the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab and all of the amazing things they do HERE




Dr. Brenna working on a croppped wheelchair with her team

Dr. Brenna working on a cropped wheelchair with her team (credit: Northwestern University)



Challenge:   Try to move your arm the way Dr. Brenna does. Is it difficult? 

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Everything Robotics book by Jennifer Swanson


Highlighted Book for this Episode!

National Geographic Kids Everything Robotics: All the Photos, Facts, and Fun to Make You Race for Robots by Jennifer Swanson






Book List: 

Fascinating Engineering Book for Kids: 500 Dynamic Facts! by Dr. Jacie Maslyk

How Technology Works: The Facts Visually Explained  by DK

Artificial Intelligence: Thinking Machines and Smart Robots with Science Activities for Kids by Angie Smibert (Author), Alexis Cornell (Illustrator)

Super Surprising Trivia About Artificial Intelligence by Lisa M. Bolt Simons

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