I am Dr Joseph Roberts, a researcher at the Law School, University of Birmingham working on a project titled: Everyday Cyborgs 2.0: Law’s Boundary-work and Alternative Legal Futures.
‘Everyday cyborgs’ is a term that can be used to describe people with attached and implanted medical devices.
This includes people with a wide range of devices; for example, joint replacements, pacemakers, insulin pumps, and limb prostheses.
Some devices use smart technologies such as computer software and Wi-Fi.
They collect, analyse, and transmit data. However, their use creates some difficulties for the law.
This project addresses a range of questions that remain unanswered about how the law ought to accommodate such devices. These questions include:
Should internally implanted devices be viewed as part of the person or as mere objects (or something else)?
Should damage to a prosthetic limb that is connected to a person’s nervous system (neuro-prostheses) be seen as personal injury or damage to property?
Who ought to control/own the software run, and data generated, by implanted medical devices?
How should the law deal with risks around unauthorised third-party access to devices (sometimes known as ‘hacking’)?
In order to gather data, we are looking to interview people who self-identify as persons with a medical device (attached or implanted), as well as stakeholders interested in this research.
My team and I are contacting you to see if there would be an opportunity for the Amputation Foundation to advertise our project for recruitment purposes.
We are particularly keen to interview individuals who use (or have used) a prosthesis.
Participation would involve a semi-structured interview with one of our research team, which we would estimate to last around an hour.
This interview could be face to face at a location that suits the participant or over zoom.
I would be happy to meet with you/your team/members or to talk on the phone/Zoom to discuss our research and answer any questions you might have about it.
Please let me know if this would be helpful to you.
Alternatively, please do not hesitate to contact me via email for more information.
This project is funded by the Wellcome Trust and has received approval from the University of Birmingham’s Research Ethics Committee.
The Principal Investigator for this project is Professor Muireann Quigley of Birmingham Law School, University of Birmingham.
Further information on the project and our work so far can be found on our website: https://blog.bham.ac.uk/everydaycyborgs
If you would like to be involved in this exciting research project, please contact us here.