2022-05254 - PhD Position F/M “Haptic Feedback for Supporting Social Interactions in Virtual Worlds”
Le descriptif de l’offre ci-dessous est en Anglais

Type de contrat : CDD

Niveau de diplôme exigé : Bac + 5 ou équivalent

Fonction : Doctorant

Niveau d'expérience souhaité : Jeune diplômé

A propos du centre ou de la direction fonctionnelle

The Inria Rennes - Bretagne Atlantique Centre is one of Inria's eight centres and has more than thirty research teams. The Inria Center is a major and recognized player in the field of digital sciences. It is at the heart of a rich R&D and innovation ecosystem: highly innovative PMEs, large industrial groups, competitiveness clusters, research and higher education players, laboratories of excellence, technological research institute, etc.

Contexte et atouts du poste

This PhD project is part of a European collaborative research project called “GuestXR”
(https://guestxr.eu/), which brings together 5 academic partners and 3 companies with
expertise in virtual environments and artificial intelligence. GuestXR aims to create an
immersive online social space through extended reality, where the focus is on the design and
development of a machine learning agent called “The Guest” that can facilitate interaction
between participants to help them achieve their intended goals. Ideally, by analysing in real-
time the interaction situations, the agent should dynamically operate visual changes (e.g.,
lighting, avatar tint, etc), auditory changes (background sounds, voice volume modulation) or
even “haptic” stimulations (tactile or force feedback) to make or maintain positive interactions
between participants.

Mission confiée

In this context, the objective of the PhD is to design and assess novel interactive techniques
based on haptic cues to support social interactions in the virtual environment. Various kinds
of haptic technologies will be considered and are available at Inria Rennes, including: tangible
elements, wearable haptic devices, non-contact haptic stimulation (ultrasound), vibratory
cues, encountered-type haptics, pseudo-haptics, etc. The successful candidate will therefore
explore the design space offered by such haptic displays and progressively determine which
modalities are the most suitable for social interactions to either transmit an alert or an
encouragement, foster interactions or reactions from participants, promote or moderate
interventions, etc.

Principales activités

The main tasks of the PhD student will consist in: 1) conduct an analysis of the
existing literature on social touch and affective haptics, 2) identify scientific hypotheses to be
tested in collaboration with partners from the project, 3) design a set of haptic interactive
techniques in a collaborative virtual reality setup, 4) conduct user studies to test the
hypotheses, 5) analyze the experimental results, 6) write scientific papers, 7) present the
results obtained at various events, 8) participate to the GuestXR project meetings and


Interested candidates are required to send their applications including CV with
publication list, a summary of their research interests together with names and contact
information of at least two references to Anatole.lecuyer@inria.fr with the subject “PhD
GuestXR - Haptic Feedback for Supporting Social Interactions in Virtual Worlds.”

Useful links:

Website of the project :

Centers hosting the PhD :

Research team :



Candidate should should demonstrate relevant experience and motivation in Virtual Reality, Human-Computer
Interaction or Haptics.


  • Subsidized meals
  • Partial reimbursement of public transport costs
  • Possibility of teleworking ( 90 days per year) and flexible organization of working hours
  • partial payment of insurance costs


monthly gross salary amounting to 2051 euros for the first and second years and 2158 euros for the third year