Ethical implications of visual neuroprostheses-a systematic review

E. A.M. van Velthoven, O. C. van Stuijvenberg, D. R.E. Haselager, M. Broekman, X. Chen, P. Roelfsema, A. L. Bredenoord, K. R. Jongsma*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
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Objective. The aim of this review was to systematically identify the ethical implications of visual neuroprostheses.Approach. A systematic search was performed in both PubMed and Embase using a search string that combined synonyms for visual neuroprostheses, brain-computer interfaces (BCIs), cochlear implants (CIs), and ethics. We chose to include literature on BCIs and CIs, because of their ethically relavant similarities and functional parallels with visual neuroprostheses.Main results. We included 84 articles in total. Six focused specifically on visual prostheses. The other articles focused more broadly on neurotechnologies, on BCIs or CIs. We identified 169 ethical implications that have been categorized under seven main themes: (a) benefits for health and well-being; (b) harm and risk; (c) autonomy; (d) societal effects; (e) clinical research; (f) regulation and governance; and (g) involvement of experts, patients and the public.Significance. The development and clinical use of visual neuroprostheses is accompanied by ethical issues that should be considered early in the technological development process. Though there is ample literature on the ethical implications of other types of neuroprostheses, such as motor neuroprostheses and CIs, there is a significant gap in the literature regarding the ethical implications of visual neuroprostheses. Our findings can serve as a starting point for further research and normative analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number026055
JournalJournal of Neural Engineering
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 27 Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
EAMV was responsible for the original article design, data collection and analysis, drafting and revision for important intellectual content. D R E H and KRJ played a significant role in the article design, data collection and analysis. O C S, D R E H, M B, X C, P R, A L B and K R J were responsible for the concept and design, providing important intellectual input, critically reviewing the drafts and final approval of the article. K R J is assistant professor of Bioethics at the University Medical Centre of Utrecht, and the guarantor for this article. She accepts full responsibility for the work and the conduct of the study. Her involvement was critical to every phase of this work and she controlled the decision to publish. This work is part of the INTENSE consortium, which has received funding from the Dutch Research Council (NWO) with Grant No. 17619.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s). Published by IOP Publishing Ltd.


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