Bill Smart

Dr. Smart

Dr. Smart does research in the areas of robotics and machine learning. In robotics, Smart is particularly interested in improving the interactions between people and robots; enabling robots to be self-sufficient for weeks and months at a time; and determining how they can be used as personal assistants for people with severe motor disabilities. In machine learning, Smart is interested in developing strategies for teaching robots to act effectively (or even optimally), based on long-term interactions with the world and given intermittent and at times incorrect feedback on their performance.


Bill's OSU Webpage

Cindy Grimm

Dr. Grimm

Cindy Grimm works in the area of robotic grasping and manipulation for both industry and agriculture, as well as ethics, law and policy related to robotics. Her previous projects include: modeling the developing heart, understanding how the shape of bat ears influences their sonar patterns, 3D sketching, and interfaces for 3D medical image segmentation. She received her PhD from Brown University in 1995 in the area of surface modeling, spent two years working at Microsoft Research on facial animation, then ten years as faculty in Computer Science at Washington University in St. Louis. She is now in the Mechanical Engineering department at Oregon State University.


Cindy's OSU Webpage

Current Graduate Students


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Matthew Rueben

Matt is a PhD candidate in the Personal Robotics Group. His current research focuses on understanding users' privacy concerns about robots, which he hopes to extend to values like transparency, honesty, and etiquette. Raised right here in Corvallis, Oregon, Matt graduated from Oregon State University in 2013 with a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering. Matt enjoys being outside and talking about ideas, sometimes at the same time.


Matt's Personal Webpage

Austin Nicolai

Austin is a PhD student in the Personal Robotics Group (PRG) and Robotic Decision Making Laboratory (RDML) at Oregon State University. Before coming to OSU, he earned his BS in Electrical Engineering from the Honors College at Washington State University in Pullman, WA. After, he worked as an Electronics Engineer for the Air Force while attending Mercer University in Macon, GA. There, he worked with the Machine Intelligence and Robotics Laboratory (MIRL) while earning his MSE in Electrical Engineering. Austin's previous work has included facial feature extraction, facial emotion categorization, and American Sign Language recognition. His current research interests include deep learning and computer vision in the robotics domain; specifically how these can be leveraged to improve path planning and human-robot interaction.


Austin's Personal Webpage

Christopher Eriksen

Chris is a PhD student in the Personal Robotics Group. Before coming to OSU, he earned his BS in Computer Science from Harvey Mudd College. Chris’ research interests include the application of machine learning and computer vision to personal robotics. His current work involves the lifelong learning of objects and how robots can best interact with human partners to increase their learning capabilities over time.


Chris' Personal Webpage

Austin Whitesell

Austin Whitesell

Austin is a PhD student in the Personal Robotics Group. He graduated from Oregon State University in 2016 with a BS in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in Computer Science. His previous work has involved grasping research and under-actuated system design. Currently, his interests include Human-Robot Interaction and the application of robots in medical environments.

Wendy Xu

Wendy is a Human-Robot interaction researcher in the Personal Robotics Group pursuing her robotics graduate degree. After studying Computer Science and media arts at Wellesley College and researching tangible user interfaces (TUIs) at the Wellesley HCI Lab and MIT Media Lab, she worked as a user experience researcher and interaction designer for various tech companies. She is now studying social and cognitive robotics to afford integrating robots into collaborative social environments with humans.

On the side, she'll continue to pursue snow sports, painting, and film making. And eating good food... that's always rewarding.


Wendy's Personal Webpage

Matthew Shuman

Matthew is a PhD student in the Personal Robotics Group. He earned his masters in Electrical Engineering from OSU in 2008, focusing on computer architecture, and his MBA from OSU in 2013, focusing on entrepreneurship of robotic technology. His research focuses on exploring human-robot interactions, specifically shared autonomy, and assessing how humans learn to operate robotic systems. He spends his free time on a 14 foot sailboat or building projects in his woodshop.


Matthew's Personal Webpage

Jeff Klow

Jeff is a PhD student at Oregon State University. He graduated from Cornell College in 2017 with a BA in Computer Science, where a summer research project in privacy and telepresence robots sparked his interest in human-robot interaction. His current research interest is on the factors that influence the long-term use and retention of personal robots.


Jeff's Personal Webpage

Benjamin Narin

Benjamin is a masters student at Oregon State University. His primary research interest is in assistive robotics, robots to help those with extreme disabilities accomplish tasks for themselves.

Duy Nguyen

Duy is studying for his MS in Computer Science with the Personal Robotics Group at Oregon State University. He received his BS in Computer Science from the Honors College at Oregon State University in 2016. He is interested in the interpersonal aspects of interactions between humans and robots. He spent two years in his undergraduate studies working in the Interpersonal Sensitivity Lab under Dr. Frank Bernieri studying about the rapport between people in conversation. His current research focuses on how to improve speech assistive technology and allowing people with speech disorders to communicate naturally with others. Duy is from Vietnam and he enjoys being outside, cooking food, and talking to people.

Makenzie Brian

Makenzie is a masters student at Oregon State University. She received her BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the Honors College at Oregon State University in 2017. Her research interests include human-computer and human-robot interaction. Her current research interests include examining differences in patient behavior when involving robots in contagious disease scenarios. Before joining the Personal Robotics Group, she worked on an EMG Wireless Control System for a smartphone which could use user defined gestures to interact with the phone.


Makenzie's Personal Webpage

Alan G. Sanchez

Alan is a masters student at Oregon State University. He graduated from the University of California, San Diego in 2015 with a BS in both Mechanical Engineering and Physics. He previously worked as a prototype engineer where he fabricated medical delivery drones. His research interests are in assistive robotics and human-robot interaction. Alan is from the Coachella Valley and spends his free time dancing, working on small projects, and playing sports.


Alan's Personal Webpage


Anna Nickelson

Anna is a Ph.D. student in the Personal Robotics Group. She earned her bachelors in Mathematics from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in 2012. Upon graduation, she spent 6 years working at Dolby Laboratories as a project manager. Her research interests are in semantic mapping, contextual planning, privacy, and policy. She is also very interested in science communication and increasing diversity in STEM. During her spare time, she enjoys kickboxing, cooking and finding new flavor combinations, watching baseball, and is learning west coast swing.


Anna's Personal Webpage

Parthasarathy Reddy Bana


Parthasarathy Reddy Bana is a masters student in the Personal Robotics Group. He has a bachelor's in Electrical Engineering from India and now works under the guidance of Dr. Bill Smart, with the focus of understanding navigation of robots present in indoor environments. His research mainly focuses on predicting navigation failures, understanding the robot surroundings based on LIDARs and providing better solutions to overcome those problems. Besides, he is good at badminton, loves to play basketball and swim. 

Reddy's Personal Webpage





Current Undergraduate Research Assistants


Nicholaus Perry


Nicholaus Perry is an undergraduate at Oregon State University with a major in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in Computer Science. Nicholaus' prior research includes work on the GENI liquid hydrogen UAV, advanced boat hull designs tensioning of a large scale artificial spider web and autonomous battery changers. His current work focuses on creating intuitive and efficient physical controls for industrial robots. In the future, he plans on pursuing a MS or PhD in robotics.

Rey Pocius

Rey Pocius is an undergraduate at Oregon State University majoring in Computer Science. Rey's previous research focused on dimensionality reduction and transfer learning in the area of deep reinforcement learning. His current work focuses on goal reasoning and HRI. He plans on pursuing a MS or PhD in Robotics.


Rey's Personal Webpage

Julian Weisbord


Julian is an undergraduate at Oregon State University, and has been with the lab since 2017.

Madison Browning

Madison Browning is a senior at Oregon State University studying psychology. She is also a student in the Chemeketa Paramedic Program. Her main area of interest is trauma medicine and trauma psychology.

Eric Zimmerman

Eric Zimmerman is a senior at Oregon State University majoring in Psychology. He plans on pursuing a PhD in Clinical Psychology.

Henok Techeste

Henok Techeste is a freshman Electrical and Computer Engineering student. He is from Portland, Oregon. Henok went to Lincoln High School where he graduated and decided to go to Oregon State University to pursue his BS. Henok chose OSU because of the outstanding Engineering and research program. After receiving his BS, he plans to go to graduate school to earn his masters and PhD in Electrical Engineering.

Madelyn Duer

Madelyn Duer is a third year undergraduate student at Oregon State University. She is majoring in Human Development and Family Sciences with a minor in Psychology. She is passionate about human services and hopes to pursue her masters in Social Work in the future.

Jennifer Piacentini

Jennifer Piacentini is a junior at Oregon State University and is majoring in Psychology as well as Human Development and Family Sciences. She is interested in working with people who have intellectual disabilities.

Zachary Lee


Zachary is a junior at Oregon State University and is majoring in Computer Science. He joined the lab during the summer of 2017 and is interested in pursuing a career in robotics.

Alumni and Past Members


William Curran
PhD, Graduated 2016
Will's Personal Webpage

Daniel Lazewatsky
PhD, Graduated 2015
Dan's Personal Webpage

Kory Kraft
MS, Graduated 2016
Kory's Personal Webpage

Cameron Bowie
BS, Graduated 2016
Computer Science

Benjamin Arvey
BS, Graduated 2016
Computer Science

Jasper LaFortune
BS, Graduated 2016
Computer Science

Evan Daniel
Visiting Artist, 2016

Brandon Gaydusek
REU Program, 2016
Arizona State University, Arizona

Margaret Krupp
REU Program, 2016
Indiana University, Indiana
Psychology and Informatics

Alex Dennis
REU Program, 2016
Hamilton College, New York
Computer Science and Mathematics

Patrick Hansen
REU Program, 2015
Notre Dame, Indiana
Computer Science

Steven Huerta
REU Program, 2015
South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, South Dakota
Computer Science

Tiffany Chu
REU Program, 2015

Leo Biggs
REU Program, 2014

Suzanne Dazo
REU Program, 2014
Berea College, Kentucky
Computer Science

Alexander Hubers
REU Program, 2014
Cornell College, Iowa
Computer Science

Thomas Thornton
REU Program, 2014
Colby College, Maine
Computer Science