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Pierre Wargnier - researcher
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About me

I am a postdoctoral researcher at the computer science research center of MINES ParisTech, Paris Sciences et Lettres Research University, since December 2016. I also prepared my PhD thesis in this laboratory from Novemeber 2013 to December 2016. My research focuses on the design of Embodied Conversational Agents (ECAs), therapeutic serious games and virtual reality applications, adapted to the special needs of older adults living with dementia.

I work under the supervision of Doctor Pierre Jouvelot, computer scientist. This work is conducted in partnership with Doctor Samuel Benveniste, CTO of CEN STIMCO, Professor Anne-Sophie Rigaud, psychiatrist and geriatrician and Doctor Maribel Pino, neuropsychologist, both from LUSAGE Laboratory at the Broca Hospital. This hospital is part of Assistance Publique - Hôpitaux de Paris and specialized in geriatrics. It is a university hospital, part of Paris Descartes University located in Paris, France. My PhD project was funded by région Île-de-France (greater Paris area local government). My current postdoc project is funded by Armines.


I have a Bachelor and a Masters degree in electronics from Pierre and Marie Curie University, in Paris, France. My Masters speciality is signal processing for sounds and images. This Masters program is mostly taught by professors of the ISIR Laboratory (CNRS/Pierre and Marie Curie University) and oriented towards intelligent systems (machine learning, neural networks, computer vision, speech recognition and synthesis), with some robotics courses (human-robot interaction and robot task planning). During my Bachelor years, I have spent a full academic year (2 semesters) at the University of Ottawa, in Ottawa, ON., Canada.

I have prepared my PhD thesis titled "Virtual Human Technologies for Cognitively-Impaired Older Adults' Care: the LOUISE and Virtual Promenade Experiments" at MINES ParisTech, PSL Research University in partnership with Paris Descartes University, which I defended in November 2016.

For more information, please refer to my LinkedIn page or my ResearchGate page.



The most frequent source of cognitive impairment among older adults is Alzheimer's disease. This disease and other forms of dementia, have a strong impact on people's autonomy and often lead to institutionalisation. Due to the growing number of people living with dementia around the world (over 100 millions by 2050, according to the World Health Organisation) and caregiver shortage, it is essential to have access to support solutions for these patients and their helpers.

The development of multiple assistive technologies for cognition is accelerating rapidly. However, the current Human-Machine interfaces (HMI) are difficult to use for this public and need substantial improvement in terms of usability and accessibility. A few exploratory works have shown that the use of Embodied Conversational Agents could potentially improve users' performances and quality of engagement.

Falls are also widely recognized as being a very concerning issue regarding older adults, as they cause many injuries that can result in physical disabilities or death. This issue also has links with cognitive impairment as the latest is one of the risk factors of falls in older adults.

Lately, serious games and virtual reality have received a lot of attention for their applicability to therapeutic and rehabilitation activities. However, adapting these technological tools to the abilities and tastes of older adults who have fallen or are at high risk of falling and may present cognitive impairment is still very challenging.

Research Projects

My research work consists in building iteratively prototypes of virtual human-based technologies for the support of older adults. This is done following the living lab design principles, which consist in involving experts, stakeholders and users from the targeted group in the design process. My research activities include coding, usability testing with older adults and conducting focus groups with people with dementia and their helpers, care professionals (geriatricians, psychiatrists, physiotherapists and neuropsychologists, mostly) or assistive technology experts.

More specifically, my work focuses on two projects:


P. Wargnier "Virtual Human Technologies for Cognitively-Impaired Older Adults' Care: the LOUISE and Virtual Promenade Experiments", PhD Thesis, Paris Sciences et Lettres Research University, prepared at MINES ParisTech, Paris, France, November 2016 link.

P. Wargnier, P.-E. Fauquet, S. Benveniste, P. Jouvelot, A.-S. Rigaud, G. Kemoun & F. Bloch. "Rehabilitation of the psychomotor consequences of elderly fallers: A pilot study to evaluate the feasibility and tolerability of virtual reality training using a user-centered designed serious game" in 10 th World Conference of Gerontechnology (ISG 2016), Vol. 15, No. 169, Nice, France, September 2016 link.

F. Badeig, P. Wargnier, M. Pino, P. De Oliveira Lopes, E. Grange, J. L. Crowley, A.-S. Rigaud & D. Vaufreydaz "Impact of Head Motion on the Assistive Robot Expressiveness - Evaluation with Elderly Persons" in 1 st International Workshop on Affective Computing for Social Robotics Workshop at the IEEE International Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (RO-MAN), New York NY., USA, August 2016 (to appear).

P. Wargnier, G. Carletti, Y. Laurent-Corniquet, S. Benveniste, P. Jouvelot & A.-S. Rigaud "Field Evaluation with Cognitively Impaired Older Adults of Attention Management in the Embodied Conversational Agent Louise" in 4 th IEEE International Conference on Serious Games and Applications for Health (SeGAH), Orlando FL., USA, May 2016 link.

P. Wargnier, E. Phuong, K. Marivan, S. Benveniste, F. Bloch, S. Reingewirtz, G. Kemoun & A.-S. Rigaud "Virtual Promenade: A New Serious Game for the Rehabilitation of Older Adults with Post-fall Syndrome" in 4 th IEEE International Conference on Serious Games and Applications for Health (SeGAH), Orlando FL., USA, May 2016. link

E. Phuong, P. Wargnier, S. Benveniste, S. Reingewirtz, A.-S. Rigaud, G. Kemoun and F. Bloch "Conception « orientée utilisateur » d’un Serious game pour rééduquer le syndrome post-chute des sujets âgés'' Neurophysiologie Clinique/Clinical Neurophysiology, 45(4), p.395, November 2015 link

P. Wargnier, A. Malaisé, J. Jacquemot, S. Benveniste, P. Jouvelot, M. Pino & A.-S. Rigaud "Towards Attention Monitoring of Older Adults with Cognitive Impairment During Interaction with an Embodied Conversational Agent." in 3 rd IEEE VR International Workshop on Virtual and Augmented Assistive Technology (VAAT), pp.23-28, Arles, France, March 2015. link

J. Wrobel, M. Pino, P. Wargnier & A.-S. Rigaud. "Robots et agents virtuels au service des personnes âgées : une revue de l’actualité en gérontechnologie", NPG Neurologie-Psychiatrie-Gériatrie, 14(82), pp.184-193, 2014. link

Contact information

Email: pierre.wargnier[at]mines-paristech.fr
Phone: +33 (0)1 64 69 49 92
Address: MINES ParisTech, Centre de recherche en informatique, 35 rue Saint-Honoré, 77305 FONTAINEBLEAU, France
Office: P 1.06