Science and Engineering Ethics

, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 707–765 | Cite as

A Review of Contemporary Work on the Ethics of Ambient Assisted Living Technologies for People with Dementia

  • Peter Novitzky
  • Alan F. Smeaton
  • Cynthia Chen
  • Kate Irving
  • Tim Jacquemard
  • Fiachra O’Brolcháin
  • Dónal O’Mathúna
  • Bert Gordijn
Review Paper


Ambient assisted living (AAL) technologies can provide assistance and support to persons with dementia. They might allow them the possibility of living at home for longer whilst maintaining their comfort and security as well as offering a way towards reducing the huge economic and personal costs forecast as the incidence of dementia increases worldwide over coming decades. However, the development, introduction and use of AAL technologies also trigger serious ethical issues. This paper is a systematic literature review of the on-going scholarly debate about these issues. More specifically, we look at the ethical issues involved in research and development, clinical experimentation, and clinical application of AAL technologies for people with dementia and related stakeholders. In the discussion we focus on: (1) the value of the goals of AAL technologies, (2) the special vulnerability of persons with dementia in their private homes, (3) the complex question of informed consent for the usage of AAL technologies.


Dementia Ethics Ambient assisted living Ambient intelligence Ambient technology Informed consent 



This research has received funding from the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under Grant Agreement 288199—Dem@Care.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Novitzky
    • 1
    • 2
  • Alan F. Smeaton
    • 2
  • Cynthia Chen
    • 4
  • Kate Irving
    • 3
  • Tim Jacquemard
    • 1
    • 2
  • Fiachra O’Brolcháin
    • 1
  • Dónal O’Mathúna
    • 3
  • Bert Gordijn
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of EthicsDublin City UniversityDublin 9Ireland
  2. 2.INSIGHT, School of ComputingDublin City UniversityGlasnevin, Dublin 9Ireland
  3. 3.School of Nursing and Human SciencesDublin City UniversityGlasnevin, Dublin 9Ireland
  4. 4.LondonUK

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