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Neuralink's Breakthrough: Quadriplegic Patient Plays Video Games Using Mind-Controlled Tech

Published March 23, 2024
2 months ago

A recent Neuralink Corp. livestream revealed an extraordinary advancement in brain-computer interface technology. Founding visionary Elon Musk introduced the world to the first patient benefiting from the company's ambitious project – a quadriplegic man named Noland Arbaugh who, thanks to Neuralink’s brain implant, could operate a computer and play video games using only his thoughts.

Arbaugh, who became quadriplegic after a diving accident, demonstrated his newfound abilities by playing chess and the strategy video game Civilization VI. In the streamed session on Musk’s social platform X, Arbaugh expressed his renewed ability to engage in activities he assumed were lost to him after his accident, illustrating the life-changing capacity of Neuralink's device.

Installation of the Neuralink device – described by Arbaugh as 'super easy' – represents a significant leap forward for individuals with severe physical impairments. Released from the hospital only a day after the procedure that took place in January, his rapid recovery mirrors the seamless integration of Neuralink’s technology.

Beyond functional restoration, Musk is already setting his sights on the next frontier with a product named Blindsight, which is suggested to have the capability to restore vision, even in monkeys. Musk's updates hint at an ever-expanding scope of application, with aspirations to upgrade the implant’s resolution well beyond current human visual capabilities.

Neuralink's technology stands out owing to its wireless functionality and a greater number of electrodes compared to other companies' brain devices, hinting at its potential to offer a more nuanced and comprehensive range of interactions for users.

The Wisconsin Institute for Translational Neuroengineering's co-director, Kip Allan Ludwig, recognizes the personal triumph for Arbaugh while acknowledging that the demonstrated control is in line with existing technologies within this domain. Yet, this step by Neuralink could propel the technology to broader horizons as development continues.

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