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Man With Neuralink Brain Chip Uses Mind Control To Play Chess

March 21, 2024

Elon Musk’s Neuralink Corp. livestreamed an update with its first brain implant patient Wednesday, showing a quadriplegic man who was able to play video games and online chess using his mind.

Neuralink is a brain technology startup founded by Musk. Its implant allows a patient to use their thoughts to control a computer. Musk has said that the company will start by working with patients who have severe physical limitations like cervical spinal cord impairment or quadriplegia.

In the video on Wednesday, which was streamed on Musk’s social platform X, the patient, Noland Arbaugh, was able to use his computer to play chess and the game Civilization VI. “I had given up on playing that game,” he said.

“It has already changed my life,” Arbaugh said. “The surgery was super easy.”

Arbaugh, 29, said he sustained a spinal cord injury in a “freak diving accident” eight years ago. He also said he was released from the hospital a day after the Neuralink procedure in January, which went smoothly. He added that there was “still work to be done” to refine the technology.

Neuralink is not the only company working on brain devices that connect with computers. Modern demonstrations of cursor control by using thoughts have taken place in other humans with various types of implants, such as those deployed by the BrainGate consortium of research institutions and hospitals.

However, the Neuralink device contains more electrodes than other devices, suggesting it may have more potential applications in future. The Neuralink technology works without needing a wired connection to external devices.

In a post on X on Wednesday, Musk hinted that the device may have the capability to restore vision. “Blindsight is the next product after Telepathy,” he wrote, referring to the name of the implant for paralyzed patients.

“I’m happy for the individual that he’s been able to interface with a computer in a way he wasn’t able to before the implant,” said Kip Allan Ludwig, co-director of the Wisconsin Institute for Translational Neuroengineering. “That’s not a breakthrough compared to what others have shown previously, but it’s certainly a good starting point.”

According to a Facebook page for Arbaugh, which hasn’t been publicly updated since 2017, his accident took place at a children’s camp in June 2016. In 2017, he successfully raised $10,000 via a GoFundMe campaign to purchase an accessible custom-built van.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Kashmir Monitor staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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