Designing Robots for Care: Care Centered Value-Sensitive Design

Aimee van Wynsberghe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

128 Citations (Scopus)
117 Downloads (Pure)


The prospective robots in healthcare intended to be included within the conclave of the nurse-patient relationship—what I refer to as care robots—require rigorous ethical reflection to ensure their design and introduction do not impede the promotion of values and the dignity of patients at such a vulnerable and sensitive time in their lives. The ethical evaluation of care robots requires insight into the values at stake in the healthcare tradition. What’s more, given the stage of their development and lack of standards provided by the International Organization for Standardization to guide their development, ethics ought to be included into the design process of such robots. The manner in which this may be accomplished, as presented here, uses the blueprint of the Value-sensitive design approach as a means for creating a framework tailored to care contexts. Using care values as the foundational values to be integrated into a technology and using the elements in care, from the care ethics perspective, as the normative criteria, the resulting approach may be referred to as care centered value-sensitive design. The framework proposed here allows for the ethical evaluation of care robots both retrospectively and prospectively. By evaluating care robots in this way, we may ultimately ask what kind of care we, as a society, want to provide in the future
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407-433
JournalScience and engineering ethics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Value-sensitive design
  • Care robots
  • Care ethics
  • Ethics and technology

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