Marie Babel

Marie Babel 

Associate professor, Hab.

INSA Rennes




Associate professor in Institut National des Sciences Appliquées – INSA since 2006, I  received a Ph.D. degree in image processing in 2005 within the IETR lab.  I then joined the Rainbow (ex Lagadic) team within IRISA / Inria laboratory in November 2011 and have defended an habilitation thesis in Signal Processing in June 2012.

My research focuses on assistive robotics, in order to develop assistive devices to enhance mobility accessibility for people with disabilities. We designed in particular solutions to assist the navigation of a powered wheelchair by applying a smooth and intuitive correction of the wheelchair’s trajectory. The very fruitful collaboration the rehabilitation center Pôle Saint Hélier (Rennes), and the Réseau Breizh Paralysie Cérébrale allows us to conduct regular clinical trials with patients with disabilities.

In this context, I am holding an academic Chair on Innovations, Disability, Autonomy and Accessibility (IH2A) since September 2020. This chair aims to perpetuate  activities on mobility assistance, both from a societal, scientific, and clinical point of view, and is intended to be an effective and innovative mechanism for the deployment of large-scale research. The Chair is defined as a federating tool, associated with a unique experimental space, through a cross-view of players from scientific and clinical circles, for the development of adapted technologies.

My current work focuses on multimodal sensor-based servoing , as well as on the conception of multisensory physical interfaces (haptic, tactile…) in order to enrich perception of assistive device users. This work is supported by a strong and long-term collaboration with Tom Carlson and Catherine Holloway (University College of London, Aspire CREATe team) as part of an associated ISI4NAVE (Inria International Program) team, for which I am the lead. I also coordinate with Claudio Paccheriotti the Inria DORNELL Challenge, which is a collaborative effort between research teams at Inria. It aims to design a multimodal, shapeable haptic handle for mobility assistance of people with disabilities.

As part of the European Interreg VA France (Channel) England ADAPT project (2017-2021), I am responsible for the work module dedicated to the design of a virtual reality wheelchair simulator and scientific manager on behalf of INSA for work related to the design of a connected and intelligent wheelchair (14 people involved, INSA budget of €1.6 million). I am also involved in the European project H2020 Crowdbot (2018-2021) which deals with robot navigation in a crowd, and the successive PRISME and AMBROUGERIEN projects (AAP PME 2017-2019 / AAP PME 2021-2024) on the prevention of falls in hospitals.

I have supervised 10 theses (defended) and currently supervise 4 doctoral students.

Keywords : robotics, assistive robotics, sensor-based servoing, robotic vision, social navigation, physical HRI, Virtual Reality



  • 2020-2024 : Coordinator of DORNELL Challenge
  • 2017-2019 : Scientific leader for INSA of pôle Images et Réseaux AMBROUGERIEN project – Fall prevention, autonomous wheelchair docking
  • 2016-2022 : Leader of Inria Associate Team ISI4NAVE
  • 2017-2022 : Scientific leader for INSA of Interreg VA France (Channel) England ADAPT – Budget of €1.6 million for INSA
  • 2017-2019 : Leader of pôle Images et Réseaux PRISME project – Fall prevention
  • 2018-2021 : Member of project H2020 Crowdbot – Robot navigation in crowded areas
  • 2014-2015 : Leader of HandViz project – Intuitive driving assistance for power wheelchairs
  • 2012-2014 : Leader of APASH project – Assitance au Pilotage
    pour l’Autonomie et la Sécurité des personnes Handicapées
  • 2009-2011 : Scientific responsible of IETR lab works within ANR VERSO CAIMAN – Advanced image coding and transmission
  • 2006-2009 : Scientific responsible of IETR lab works within ANR TSAR project – Safe Transfer of high Resolution Art images

PhD Students

Emilie Leblong (2020-…)
Julien Albrand (2020-…)
Guillaume Vailland (2018-…)
Fabien Grzeskowiak (2018-…)

Louise Devigne, PhD in 2018
Jason Chevrie, PhD in 2018
Vishnu Karakkat-Narayanan, PhD in 2016
Rafik Sekkal, PhD in 2014
François Pasteau, PhD in 2011

Clément Strauss, PhD in 2011
Fabien Racapé, PhD in 2011
Matthieu Urvoy, PhD in 2011
Yohann Pitrey, PhD in 2009
Jean Motsch, PhD in 2008


I teach various courses at INSA Rennes (Graduate engineering school), within Computer Science department.

  • Robotics
  • Mathematics for Engineers
  • Image processing and analysis
  • Machine language compilation oriented



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