RoboEthics: Bioethical Issues Related to Human-Centered Robot Development and Deployment

Dr. Moria Bittmann, Program Director, National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, (Primary)

Elizabeth Smith, Health Science Policy Analyst, Division of Clinical and Healthcare Research Policy, Office of Science Policy,
Institution/ Affiliation
National Institutes of Health
Presentation Details (date, conference, etc.)

Engineering Education and Research Center (EER)
University of Texas at Austin, USA
December 12, 2023

In-Person Only

The increasing ability of human-centered robotics to enable patients to overcome limitations caused by disease and injury and the growing use of these devices in healthcare has surfaced many ethical questions. This workshop aims to explore the ethical implications of humanoid robotic development, foster discussions, and develop guidelines to ensure responsible and humane advancements in the field.

Keywords: Assistive robots, Human-robot interaction, Companion robots, Healthcare robots, Personal robots, Rehabilitation robots, Robot assistant, Therapy robots, privacy, data protection, regulation, ethics


  • Ethical Frameworks for Human-centered Robotics
  • Privacy and Data Protection for Human-centered Robotics
  • Ethical considerations in using robots for medical and caregiving tasks.
  • Establishing boundaries and ensuring empathetic care in robot-human interactions.



Jennifer K. Wagner, J.D., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Law, Policy, and Engineering and Anthropology

Pennsylvania State University

Dr. Jennifer K. Wagner, JD, PhD is Assistant Professor of Law, Policy, & Engineering at Penn State University. In addition to her primary appointment in the School of Engineering Design and Innovation, Dr. Wagner is affiliated with the Institute for Computational and Data Science, Penn State Law, Rock Ethics Institute, Department of Biomedical Engineering, and the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences as well as a licensed attorney practicing part-time.

Prior to joining Penn State, Dr. Wagner conducted ethical, legal, and social implications (ELSI) research at two NHGRI Centers for Excellence in ELSI Research (at Duke University and the University of Pennsylvania) and later at Geisinger's Center for Translational Bioethics & Health Care Policy (where she contributed to two precision health initiatives: the MyCode Community Health Initiative and the NIH All of Us Research Program). Dr. Wagner’s anthroengineering research focuses on the international human right to science, including human-centered design and matters of privacy, nondiscrimination, and equity with genetic/omic and other health technologies. She strives to be “radically collaborative,” and her research has been supported by NIH OD, NHGRI, NIDCR, NIBIB, NCI, and PCORI.