Science and Engineering Ethics

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 303–323 | Cite as

Mobile-Centric Ambient Intelligence in Health- and Homecare—Anticipating Ethical and Legal Challenges

  • Eleni KostaEmail author
  • Olli Pitkänen
  • Marketta Niemelä
  • Eija Kaasinen
Original Paper


Ambient Intelligence provides the potential for vast and varied applications, bringing with it both promise and peril. The development of Ambient Intelligence applications poses a number of ethical and legal concerns. Mobile devices are increasingly evolving into tools to orientate in and interact with the environment, thus introducing a user-centric approach to Ambient Intelligence. The MINAmI (Micro-Nano integrated platform for transverse Ambient Intelligence applications) FP6 research project aims at creating core technologies for mobile device based Ambient Intelligence services. In this paper we assess five scenarios that demonstrate forthcoming MINAmI-based applications focusing on healthcare, assistive technology, homecare, and everyday life in general. A legal and ethical analysis of the scenarios is conducted, which reveals various conflicting interests. The paper concludes with some thoughts on drafting ethical guidelines for Ambient Intelligence applications.


MINAmI project Ambient intelligence Data protection Privacy Ethical guidelines eInclusion Social divide 



This work was supported in part by the MINAmI project, which receives research funding from the European Union’s Sixth Framework Programme; however, the paper represents the views of the authors only.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eleni Kosta
    • 1
    Email author
  • Olli Pitkänen
    • 2
  • Marketta Niemelä
    • 3
  • Eija Kaasinen
    • 3
  1. 1.Interdisciplinary Centre for Law & ICT (ICRI), KU Leuven, IBBTLeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Helsinki Institute for Information Technology (HIIT)Helsinki University of TechnologyTKKFinland
  3. 3.VTT Technical Research Centre of FinlandTampereFinland

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