PostDoc in Motion haptics for wheechair simulator in Virtual Reality

PostDoc position 

Motion cues of an electric wheelchair simulator in virtual reality

Team: Rainbow, IRISA/Inria Rennes – LGCGM (INSA Rennes)  

Advisors: Ronan Le Breton, Sylvain Guégan, Marie Babel

Main contact: Ronan Le Breton, – Sylvain Guégan, – Marie Babel,

Project site:

Application: Applications consist of a cover letter describing how your research experience is relevant to the position and a resume sent to  and


The ADAPT project, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund as part of the INTERREG VA France (Channel) England program, began in January 2017 and will end in January 2021. The aim of the project is to design and to develop assistive devices for empowering disabled people through robotics. INSA Rennes, an engineering school, is involved in the ADAPT project through 3 research units: IRISA-IETR-LGCGM. IRISA (Rainbow team) is specialized in computer vision and robotics. IETR (VAADER team) works on the design of embedded systems for signal processing. LGCGM (ECSR team) carries out work in mechanical processes and systems.

As part of the ADAPT project and through past collaborations, in particular with the Pôle Saint Hélier , a rehabilitation center in Rennes, INSA teams have developed a smart powered wheelchair (PW) that compensates user disabilities by using driving assistance technologies. In parallel, for an immersive experience of the smart PW, a virtual reality (VR) driving simulator has been developed. This simulator includes immersive visual rendering capabilities (immersive room / VR headset), interfaces compatible with those of the PW and a haptic platform for replicating wheelchair motions.

Post-doctoral subject

The goal of the post-doctoral work is directly linked to the wheelchair simulator, and will be in particular dedicated to motion cues. The idea is to combine software development for Virtual Reality (based on Robot Operating System, Unity 3D,…) add a 4 degrees of freedom motion platform (1 translation and 3 rotations).

Within the project team working on the simulator, the researcher will have to propose solutions to increase the Sense of Presence felt by the user, and to prevent from cybersickness for different indoor/outdoor scenarios:

  • ­Design of a new physics engine to replicate motion dynamics of a powered wheelchair, such as collisions, bumps, floor irregularities, caster wheel kinematics… 
  • Design of motion cues and haptics:
    • the 4 degrees of freedom should be properly used to match motion cues;
    • the behavior of the platform should be finely tuned and adapted to each user with disabilities.

Skill / Requirements

The applicant should have a strong interest in working in a multidisciplinary team, including the medical staff of the rehabilitation center of Pôle Saint Hélier. Ideally, she/he has an experience in VR and/or robotics domains:

  • Simulation and/or motion platform control;
  • C/C++ coding;
  • Familiarity with ROS;
  • Familiarity with system dynamics and mechanics is considered as an asset.


The position is full-time for 1 year. Salary : around 2200€/month (net salary)
Localisation : IRISA / INSA de Rennes – Campus de Beaulieu – Rainbow team

Keywords: Power wheelchair simulator, Virtual Reality, Physics engine, motion cues, haptics, user tests


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[12]  H. Niniss, “Electric wheelchair simulator for rehabilitation of persons with motor disability,” no. August, 2014.

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