Broadcast of Quadriplegics Playing Online Chess Hosted by Musk’s Neuralink

On Wednesday, Elon Musk’s business Neuralink broadcast a live video of a patient utilizing the brain implant the company makes available to control a mouse and play computer chess.

The first human patient to get Neuralink’s device implanted is 29-year-old Noland Arbaugh. The company’s goal is to let people with severe paralysis operate external technology using just neurological impulses by creating a brain-computer interface, or BCI. According to an article Musk wrote in January on his social media platform X, Neuralink’s debut product is named Telepathy.

“Basically, it was like using ‘the Force’ on the cursor, and I could get it to move wherever I wanted. Just stare somewhere on the screen and it would move where I wanted it to, which was such a wild experience the first time it happened,” Arbaugh said, referring to the superpowers possessed by the Jedi in the Star Wars films.

What Neuralink demonstrated was not a “breakthrough,” according to Kip Ludwig, a former program director for brain engineering at the US National Institutes of Health.

He went on, “We are still in the very early stages of post-implantation, and there is a lot of learning to optimize the amount of information for control that can be obtained on both the Neuralink side and the subject’s side.

Ludwig stated that despite the implant, the patient has benefited by being able to communicate with a computer in a manner that was not possible for them to do previously. He said, “It’s definitely a good starting point.”

Neuralink is not the first firm to enable patients to operate a computer with their minds through the use of an implant.

The Australian company Synchron placed its gadget in a patient in July 2022 using a less invasive method that doesn’t need making incisions in the skull.

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