A multimodal, shapeable haptic handle for mobility assistance of people with disabilities
A multimodal, shapeable haptic handle for mobility assistance of people with disabilities

While technology helps people to compensate for a broad set of mobility impairments, visual perception and/or cognitive deficiencies still significantly affect their ability to move safely and easily. DORNELL proposes an innovative multisensory, multimodal, smart haptic handle that can be easily plugged onto a wide range of mobility aids. Specifically fabricated to fit the needs of a person, it provides a wide set of tactile sensations in a portable and plug-and-play format – bringing haptics in assistive technologies all at once. DORNELL adaptively provide the user with personalized tactile feedback, such as skin stretch, pressure, thermal, and vibrations, to convey a wide range of environmental information, such as the distance from obstacles or the direction to take. The handle addresses an important need for assistive technologies: providing rich navigation information in an unobtrusive, inexpensive, natural, personalized, and easy-to-use way. Indeed, the handle will be wireless and plug-and-play compatible with many mobility aids, such as power wheelchairs, white canes, and walkers, enabling our project to address at the same time a wide range of disabilities. DORNELL addresses important scientific and technological challenges, including the study of multisensory perception, the use of new materials for multimodal haptic feedback, and the development of a haptic rendering API to adapt the feedback to different assistive scenarios and user’s wishes. It is co-designed with users and therapists, driving our development by their expectations and needs.

Inria teams involved
In partnership with
ISIR Paris (INTERACTION team), INSA Rennes (LCGCM team), Institut des jeunes aveugles (Les Charmettes, Yzeure), Pôle de Médecine Physicque et de Réadapations St Hélier (Living Lab, ISAR, Rennes)
Internal partner(s)
SED (Paris)


Marie Babel

Scientific leader

Claudio Pacchierotti

Scientific co-leader