Our lab’s research lies at the intersection of artificial intelligence, rehabilitation robotics and machine learning.

It is an irony 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 the assistive & rehabilitation robotics laboratory (argallab) at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago 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 people who use assistive machines.

A distinguishing theme present within many of our 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.

We are working with a range of hardware platforms, from smart wheelchairs to assistive robotic arms. More information about our research projects can be found here.

By easing the control burden of assistive machines, the argallab strives to advance human ability through robotics autonomy.



September 2018

The lab is awarded an NSF CPS grant: Information-based Control of Cyber-Physical Systems Operating in Uncertain Environments. (In collaboration with Todd Murphey.)

Alex’s paper Operation and Imitation under Safety-Aware Shared Control is accepted to WAFR.

June 2018

The lab is awarded an NIH R01 grant: Human and Machine Learning for Customized Control of Assistive Robots. (In collaboration with Sandro Mussa-Ivaldi.)

Siddarth’s paper Recursive Bayesian Intent Inference in Shared-Control Robotics is accepted to IROS.

May 2018

Brenna’s invited paper Autonomy in Rehabilitation Robotics: An Intersection is published in the inaugural issue of the Annual Review of Control, Robotics, and Autonomous Systems.

April 2018

The lab demos in the Museum of Science and Industry for National Robotics Week.

October 2017

Brenna is an invited speaker and panelist at the CCC Symposium on Computing Research Addressing National Priorities and Societal Needs in DC (AI and Amplifying Human Abilities Panel).

June 2017

Michael, Mahdieh and Ahmetcan’s paper An Analysis of Degraded Communication Channels in Human-Robot Teaming and Implications for Dynamic Autonomy Allocation is accepted to FSR.

April 2017

Ahmetcan’s article The Effect Robotic Wheelchair Control Paradigm and Interface on User Performance, Effort and Preference: An Experimental Assessment is accepted to RAS.

Deepak’s paper Mode Switch Assistance To Maximize Human Intent Disambiguation is accepted to RSS.

Alex’s paper Learning Models for Shared Control of Human-Machine Systems with Unknown Dynamics is accepted to RSS.

Ahmetcan’s paper Prediction of User Preference over Shared-Control Paradigms for a Robotic Wheelchair is accepted to ICORR.

The lab demos in the Museum of Science and Industry for National Robotics Week.

March 2017

We moved! RIC is now the Shirely Ryan AbilityLab.

Alex’s paper Real-Time Natural Language Corrections for Assistive Manipulation Tasks is accepted to IJRR.

February 2017

Brenna’s Special Issue on Assistive and Rehabilitation Robotics is published in Autonomous Robots.

December 2016

Brenna is named one of the 40 under 40 by Crain’s Chicago Business.

September 2016

Our lab’s work has been in the news! Check out the coverage in Digital Trends, Crain’s Chicago Business, The Big Ten Network and NPR’s Morning Edition.

For an overview of what we are about, check out Brenna’s recent CMU Robotics Institute Seminar:

June 2016

Alex’s paper Trust-based Control for Safe and Stable Shared Control Between Humans and Robots is accepted to RA-L and CASE.

Deepak and Siddarth’s paper User-Driven Customization of Shared Autonomy with an Assistive Robotic Arm: A First Assessment is accepted to RA-L and CASE.

Mahdieh’s paper Automated Incline and Drop-off Detection for Assistive Powered Wheelchairs is accepted to RO-MAN.

April 2016

Manuela Veloso visits our lab. Check out the family photo!


The lab demos in the Museum of Science and Industry for National Robotics Week.

February 2016

Brenna wins the NSF Early Faculty CAREER Award, for her proposal Robot Learning from Motor-Impaired Teachers and Task Partners.

Brenna wins an ONR award, Dynamic Allocation of Autonomy for Limited-Bandwidth Human-Robot Teams Based on Measures of Trust in the Human.

January 2016

Alex’s paper Path Planning under Kinematic Constraints for Shared Human-Robot Control is accepted to ICAPS.

Siddarth’s paper Grasp Detection for Assistive Robotic Manipulation is accepted to ICRA.

Brenna wins an NIH SBIR award, Semi-autonomous Robotic Powered Wheelchair Functionality (collaboration with Innovative Design Labs).

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