A Neuralink Livestream Shows a Paralyzed Playing Chess On a Laptop

On Wednesday, Neuralink, Elon Musk’s brain science business, provided an exclusive look at how a paraplegic uses his brain implant to operate a computer.

In a nine-minute video, the first human patient of Neuralink—a man paralyzed below the shoulders—appear to be able to move a cursor across a laptop screen using only his thoughts. He may be seen playing chess and turning off the laptop’s music in the video.

In the video released on Wednesday, the patient—whose identity had not yet been disclosed—stated that his name was Noland Arbaugh. He stated to be 29 years old and to have had a diving accident around eight years ago that left him completely paralyzed in both arms and legs.

Arbaugh, who had previously relied on a mouth stick for specific duties, said he was so far a satisfied patient. In the video, there were no cords or external equipment visible.

“It’s all being done with my brain. If y’all can see the cursor moving around the screen, that’s all me. It’s pretty cool, huh?” With a Neuralink representative by his side, he stated.

Neuralink is now one of at least three businesses that have publicly shown proof of a working brain implant thanks to the video. Neuralink gives the other two companies, Blackrock Neurotech and Synchron, a year-long advantage. While other businesses are flooding the market, all three of these companies have different strategies.

The footage was made available on Neuralink’s X platform almost two months after Musk declared that the business had successfully implanted a device in a human for the first time.

The film chronicles the many years that doctors and neuroscientists have spent researching brain-computer interfaces, or BCIs. In 2004, medical professionals inserted the first interface device. Because of the location of its invention, it was dubbed the Utah array, and Blackrock Neurotech currently uses a variation of it.

Due in part to Musk, one of the richest persons in the world and CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, Neuralink has drawn significant attention as well as intense criticism.

The startup’s lack of public information releases, with significant developments only appearing in succinct tweets on Musk’s X account, has made it noteworthy. The Food and Drug Administration gave Neuralink authority in May to conduct its first clinical investigation on humans.

Researchers who have developed technologies to use the body’s neural system to cure specific ailments said Neuralink seemed to have made great progress, although they pointed out that the company’s study is still in its early phases and that not much information has been made available to the public.

In 2021, one of Neuralink’s co-founders quit the business to form Precision Neuroscience, a competitor. Last year, that company started a clinical investigation involving humans.

In the Neuralink video, Arbaugh describes how he trained on the gadget following its January insertion by medical professionals. He claimed that after giving it some thought, using the computer cursor came naturally to him.

“It just became intuitive to me to start imagining the cursor moving. It was like using The Force on the cursor, and I could get it to move wherever I wanted,”  he remarked, an allusion to “Star Wars.”

“Every day it seems like we’re learning new stuff,” he remarked.

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