Reports


2021

Everyday Cyborgs 2.0 Progress Report: Months 1-18 

Report published March 2021

Read the full report here or by clicking on the image (right) 

In this report we set out what we have achieved during the first year and a half of our project, as well as outlining the research avenues and activities we are planning over the coming year. 

In particular in this report you will find an update on the team’s research into Everyday Cyborgs and the Law, the Medicines and Medical Devices Act 2021, and Do-it-Yourself Artificial Pancreas Systems (DIY APS). The report also contains an overview of our dissemination and engagement activities, a list of publications and outputs, an outline for future activities and an introduction to the members of the team. 


2017

Workshop 2: The Everyday Cyborg: Mapping Legal, Ethical, & Conceptual Challenges

Workshop held on the 8th of December 2017

Organisers: Muireann Quigley and Semande Ayihongbe

Read the full workshop report here or by clicking on the image (right)

The addition of non-biological parts and devices to the human body raises novel legal, ethical, and conceptual challenges which have neither been adequately explored nor addressed. Drawing from and extending the work of Haddow and colleagues, we use the term ‘everyday cyborg’ to describe such integration between persons and things, subject and object, and the organic and inorganic. Thus, for us, everyday cyborgs are persons with simple prostheses and implants, as well as those with more complex replacements and augmentations. Some examples of these include artificial joint replacements and aesthetic limbs, internal cardioverter defibrillators and implantable pacemakers, externally worn insulin pumps, and retinal prostheses and myoelectric prosthetic limbs.

As technology develops and these parts and devices become more sophisticated and deeply integrated into the human body, new questions emerge which the law is ill equipped to deal with. The increasing ubiquity of these prostheses and implants and the diverse functions that they perform further compound these difficulties. For some of the issues in this context, please refer to the first workshop report (available here).

This second workshop brought together experts from law and legal practice, philosophy, science and technology studies, the social sciences, and the biomedical sciences to continue with the identification and mapping process that began at the first workshop, and to provide a forum for interdisciplinary discussion. Short summaries of the papers and discussions are presented in the report.

Funding: This workshop was supported by a Wellcome Trust Seed Award in Humanities and Social Science 2016 (Grant No: 201675/Z/16/Z).


Workshop 1: The Everyday Cyborg: Mapping Legal, Ethical, & Conceptual Challenges

Workshop held on the 2nd of June 2017.

Organisers: Muireann Quigley and Semande Ayihongbe

Read the full workshop report here or by clicking on the image (right)

The integration of biological persons with non-biological parts and devices raises a number of legal, ethical, and conceptual challenges which have hitherto been underexplored. Haddow and colleagues use the term ‘everyday cyborg’ to describe such integration between the organic person and inorganic parts and devices. They conceptualise the everyday cyborg as one where “modifications are required that quite literally become part of a person and that are automated and beyond individual autonomy” (Haddow et. al 2015). We draw on, and, extend this concept.

Thus, for us, everyday cyborgs are persons with replacements and augmentations ranging from the simple to the complex. Some examples of these include artificial joint replacements and aesthetic limbs, internal cardioverter defibrillators and implantable pacemakers, externally worn insulin pumps, and retinal prostheses and myoelectric prosthetic limbs.

Everyday cyborgs raise a number of questions for the law. For instance, is damage to a prosthesis (or an implant) personal injury or damage to property? Who ought to own/control the data generated and collected by these devices? Who ought to own/control the intellectual property rights in these devices once they become attached to the person? What legal framework applies or ought to apply where there has been unauthorised access and hacking of the device software or interference with the wireless communication from the device?

This workshop brought together experts from law, philosophy, science and technology studies, the social sciences, and the biomedical sciences to identify the state of the art of implantable medical devices and complex prosthetics, and to begin to map the challenges posed by these technologies. Ten papers were presented, and responses to these were provided. Short summaries of these discussions are presented in the report.

Funding: This workshop was supported by a Wellcome Trust Seed Award in Humanities and Social Science 2016 (Grant No: 201675/Z/16/Z).