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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Designing Commercial Therapeutic Robots for Privacy Preserving Systems and Ethical Research Practices Within the Home

  • Author(s): Sedenberg, E
  • Chuang, J
  • Mulligan, D
  • et al.

© 2016, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. The migration of robots from the laboratory into sensitive home settings as commercially available therapeutic agents represents a significant transition for information privacy and ethical imperatives. We present new privacy paradigms and apply the fair information practices (FIPs) to investigate concerns unique to the placement of therapeutic robots in private home contexts. We then explore the importance and utility of research ethics as operationalized by existing human subjects research frameworks to guide the consideration of therapeutic robotic users—a step vital to the continued research and development of these platforms. Together, privacy and research ethics frameworks provide two complementary approaches to protect users and ensure responsible yet robust information sharing for technology development. We make recommendations for the implementation of these principles—paying particular attention to specific principles that apply to vulnerable individuals (i.e., children, disabled, or elderly persons)—to promote the adoption and continued improvement of long-term, responsible, and research-enabled robotics in private settings.

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