July 17, 2024

Neuralink shows quadriplegic playing chess with brain implant


Neuralink, a pioneering neurotechnology company founded by Elon Musk, unveiled a groundbreaking development on Wednesday. In a live-streamed video, Noland Arbaugh, 29, a quadriplegic, demonstrated playing computer chess solely through the power of his mind, facilitated by a brain implant.

Arbaugh, whose paralysis resulted from a diving accident eight years ago, showcased his ability to control a computer screen cursor with his thoughts. Expressing his amazement, he shared his experience of playing chess, engaging in the video game “Civilization,” and even taking language lessons in Japanese and French.

“This is revolutionary. It’s mind-blowing,” exclaimed Arbaugh, humorously attributing his newfound abilities to “telepathy” courtesy of Neuralink, the brainchild of Elon Musk. The successful installation of the brain implant, conducted in January, marked a significant milestone for the neurotechnology company.

Despite initial concerns, Arbaugh reported being discharged from the hospital the day after the implant procedure without any cognitive impairment. He emphasized that while the journey is ongoing, the implant has already transformed his life, underscoring the transformative potential of the technology.

Reflecting on his journey, Arbaugh described his gradual transition from mere contemplation to seamlessly controlling the cursor through the implant. His ambition to contribute to a transformative innovation motivated his involvement, likening himself to the Marvel Comics character Professor X from X-Men.

Neuralink’s video also featured insights from an engineer, with promises of forthcoming updates on Arbaugh’s progress. The demonstration garnered widespread attention on platforms like Reddit, eliciting a spectrum of reactions ranging from awe to apprehension.

Neuralink’s technology, a minuscule device implanted in the brain through invasive surgery, aims to establish direct communication pathways between the brain and computers. Since its inception in 2016, the company has been at the forefront of brain-machine interface research, with aspirations to enhance human capabilities and address neurological disorders.

Elon Musk’s endeavor aligns with broader efforts in the field, underscoring the pursuit of symbiotic relationships between humans and artificial intelligence. While challenges remain, Neuralink’s recent achievement represents a significant leap forward in unlocking the potential of the human mind through innovative technology.

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