Marie Babel

Marie Babel 

Associate professor, Hab.

INSA Rennes



Short bio

Assistant professor in Institut National des Sciences Appliquées – INSA since 2006, I graduated in Electronic Engineering from the INSA of Rennes and in Signal and Image Processing from the University of Rennes 1. I then received a Ph.D. degree in image processing in 2005 within the IETR lab. My research works were in fact first oriented towards image and video coding. Then, image representation and analysis domains were introduced in order to fit human vision properties as well as the image content. The combination of these topics led us to look into joint analysis and coding frameworks. Then, my researches have been even more focused on pseudo-semantic representation of images and videos.

Robotic assistance

This leads me to tackle robotic vision issues, and more particularly robotic assistance. Current works are oriented towards tracking and semi-autonomous navigation with the help of robotic vision embedded systems, as well as on visual servoing. I then joined the Lagadic Team within IRISA / INRIA laboratory in November 2011 and have defended an habilitation thesis in Signal Processing in June 2012. Since then, I actively participate to the Inrai Large-scale initiative action PAL (Personally Assisted Living). Current works
are oriented towards tracking and semi-autonomous navigation with the help of robotic vision embedded systems, as well as on visual servoing. I was the leader of the APASH project (2012-2014), dedicated to a driving assistance for wheelchair. We designed a semi-autonomous control approach that we designed for safe wheelchair navigation. A
smooth transition from manual driving to assisted navigation is obtained thanks to a gradual visual servoing activation method that guarantees the continuity of the control law. The visual servoing task is then progressively activated, when the wheelchair gets closer to the walls or doorposts, in order to avoid collisions.

Thanks to a strong collaboration with Ergovie compagny and the rehabilitation center Pôle Saint Hélier (Rennes), the semi-autonomous navigation solution designed for wheelchair systems has been medically validated and tested by patients. The resulting technology is currently under transfer towards Ergovie (SATT/INSA funding). This technology, compliant with any off-the-shelf electrical wheelchair, is expected to be commercialized at mid 2015. We expect that this technology should be helpfull for many handicapped people.

More recent research works are oriented towards multimodal sensor-based servoing, as well as haptic feedback (Hybrid team, Inria Rennes) that leads to an intuitive assistive wheelchair navigation. We are currently working with e-Motion team (Inria Grenoble) to design a vision-based human-aware semi-autonomous navigation system. In this context, I am a member of the SAMPEN associated team within Inria International Program, which involves the National University of Taiwan (Iceira Lab), E-Motion team, Phoenix team and Lagadic team.

Clinical trials

Tests with disabled patients in the rehabilitation center Pôle Saint Hélier (Rennes) are under progress and first results prove the ability of our system to smoothly correct the trajectory of the wheelchair in case of hazardous situations. In particular, ecological trials have shown that such a system
can lift the medical interdiction to drive wheelchairs for people who suffer from severe handicap such as hemispatial neglect or cerebral palsy.

Medical robotics

In the medical robotics context and the needle insertion issue, I collaborate since 2013 with Alexandre Krupa (Lagadic team). We first proposed a non-rigid registration solution in conjunction with a dedicated motion estimation framework for ultrasound images in order to bring robusteness to the control framework on which we are currently working.


  • Leader of HandViz project – 2014/2015 – Intuitive driving assistance for electrical wheelchairs
  • Leader of APASH project – Assitance au Pilotage
    pour l’Autonomie et la Sécurité des personnes Handicapées – 2012/2014 – This project aims to develop technologies to assist disabled people and allow them to freely move indoor despite their handicap. This solution is also adapted to elderly people suffering from disorientation and spatio-temporal confusion.
  • Scientific responsible of IETR lab works within ANR VERSO CAIMAN – Advanced image coding and transmission – 2009/2011
  • Scientific responsible of IETR lab works within ANR TSAR project – Safe Transfer of high Resolution Art
    images – 2006/2009.

PhD Students

Jason Chevrie
Vishnu Karakkat-Narayanan
Rafik Sekkal, PhD in 2014, 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 and Electronics and Computer Engineering departments.

  • Statistical Signal Processing
  • Mathematics for Engineers
  • Image analysis
  • Machine language compilation oriented.


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