Marie Babel

Marie Babel 

Full professor

INSA Rennes


Full 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.

Within the Rainbow team, I am in charge of the assistive robotics theme, in order to develop assistive devices to enhance mobility accessibility for people with disabilities. These topics are naturally multidisciplinary, including virtual reality and its application in the field of disability and rehabilitation, and interactions and physical interfaces man-robot. My current work focuses on the multimodal sensor-based servoing, as well as on the integration of adapted multisensorial physical interfaces (haptic, tactile), in order to enrich the sensations perceived by the users of the developed technologies.

Within the framework of the design of robotic devices for mobility aids for disabled people, 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. The objective is to propose the most adapted technological solutions in order to compensate the sensory-motor deficiencies limiting the mobility and the autonomy of the people in the tasks of the daily life and leisure. 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. 

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 €2 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 12 theses (defended) and currently supervise 4 doctoral students.

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


  • 2023-2025 : Scientific leader for INSA of pôle Images et Réseaux HUBERT project 
  • 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 €2 millions 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

Maxime Manzano (2022-…)
José Eduardo Aguilar Segovia (2022-…)
Oluwapelumi John Williams (2022-…)
Pierre-Antoine Cabaret (2021-…)
Emilie Leblong (2020-…)

Guillaume Vailland, PhD in 2020
Fabien Grzeskowiak, PhD in 2021
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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