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The importance as well as the availability of sensor-based technology and environments is constantly increasing. This is not only based on the latest advances in sensor technology but also due to the incorporation of more powerful communication and processing mechanisms into the sensor nodes which may, eventually, allow for the emergence of cognitive intelligence from within such networks themselves. Such platforms are collectively referred to as wireless sensor networks, which provide not only the capabilities to sense and to process information but also to act upon them, which allows to actively influence the underlying context. Consequently, future intelligent infrastructures will be largely based on sensor network technology that will provide the layers for contextual information gathering, knowledge processing as well as for adaptation and optimization mechanisms. This will pave the way for new types of application and services in the area of pervasive computing in healthcare and beyond that are fully autonomous in all aspects of their operations as well as their set-up and maintenance. This paper sketches the potential and challenges of future sensor networks that provide the foundations for self-adapting ambient intelligence and briefly discusses some of the requirements thereof.