First brain chip patient of Elon Musk’s Neuralink shown playing online chess

21 March 2024, 09:54

Elon Musk
Elon Musk. Picture: PA

Noland Arbaugh, 29, is paralysed below the shoulders but he has now been able to control a PC using just his mind.

The first patient to have a computer chip implanted into their brain by Elon Musk’s Neuralink has been shown using the device to control a PC.

In a livestream posted to X, formerly Twitter, 29-year-old Noland Arbaugh showed how he could move a computer cursor using just his mind to play chess online.

Mr Arbaugh said he had been paralysed below the shoulders after a diving accident several years ago, and he underwent surgery to have the Neuralink chip implanted in January.

It aims to give those with paralysis the ability to control their devices, including their smartphone, using just their thoughts, and it is currently being trialled to test the functionality of its interface and the surgical robot used to implant the chips, having received approval in the US to test the chip on humans.

The Neuralink device can read brain neuron activity and beam back a wireless signal to a receiving unit, which then connects with a user’s device and enables them to control it.

During the livestream, Mr Arbaugh said the surgery to implant the chip was “super easy”, and he also demonstrated how he could use the chip to play video game Civilisation VI.

He said Neuralink had given him “the ability to do that again” and that he had played “for eight hours straight”.

However, he added the device is not perfect and he had encountered “some issues”.

When the successful surgery was announced in January, Mr Musk took to X to explain the early plans for Neuralink.

He said: “Initial users will be those who have lost the use of their limbs.

“Imagine if Stephen Hawking could communicate faster than a speed typist or auctioneer. That is the goal.”

By Press Association

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