, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 431–448 | Cite as

Scientific models and ethical issues in hybrid bionic systems research

  • Pericle SalviniEmail author
  • Edoardo Datteri
  • Cecilia Laschi
  • Paolo Dario
Original Article


Research on hybrid bionic systems (HBSs) is still in its infancy but promising results have already been achieved in laboratories. Experiments on humans and animals show that artificial devices can be controlled by neural signals. These results suggest that HBS technologies can be employed to restore sensorimotor functionalities in disabled and elderly people. At the same time, HBS research raises ethical concerns related to possible exogenous and endogenous limitations to human autonomy and freedom. The analysis of these concerns requires reflecting on the availability of scientific models accounting for key aspects of sensorimotor coordination and plastic adaptation mechanisms in the brain.


Motor Imagery Cochlear Implant Neural Signal External Device Output Device 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We are grateful to Guglielmo Tamburrini for his valuable comments on many aspects of this article. Financial support in the framework of the ETHICBOTS (EU FP6 Science and Society 017759) and NEUROBOTICS (IST-001917) is gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pericle Salvini
    • 1
    Email author
  • Edoardo Datteri
    • 2
  • Cecilia Laschi
    • 3
  • Paolo Dario
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Advanced Robotics Technology and System LaboratoryDoctoral School IMT - Institutions, Markets and TechnologiesLuccaItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Scienze UmaneUniversità degli Studi di Milano-BicoccaMilanoItaly
  3. 3.Advanced Robotics Technology and System Laboratory, Scuola Superiore Sant’AnnaPisaItaly
  4. 4.CRIM labScuola Superiore Sant’AnnaPisaItaly

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