He plays chess with his mind thanks to the connected Neuralink implant in his brain

He plays chess with his mind thanks to the connected Neuralink implant in his brain

In a video posted on social networks, Neuralink reveals the progress made by the first patient with his connected brain implant. By simple thought, he is now able to control his computer to listen to music or play video games.

The very first human patient to experience Neuralink technology is an American named Noland Arbaugh. He is now 29 years old and became quadriplegic following a diving accident in 2016. A first video, posted on social networks by the American company, shows him playing video games by simply thought, barely two months after having surgery. For example, he can move the pieces of a chess game.

The principle of a connected brain implant is to graft a small implant, no larger than a coin, into a patient’s brain so that it captures electrical signals from neurons and transmits them to an external device via a Bluetooth connection. These signals are then decoded and interpreted, little by little, in order to be able to control a machine.

As a reminder, it was last January that Neuralink was finally able to implant its connected chip called Telepathy in a first volunteer patient, after obtaining the green light from the American health authorities in 2023. A few days later, Elon Musk, co-founder of Neuralink, was particularly enthusiastic: “He is fine. The patient appears to have made a full recovery, with no adverse effects that we are aware of. He is now able to control a computer mouse, moving it on a screen simply by thinking. We are now trying to get as many button presses as possible through thought. Overall, everything is going very well“. It is clear that the progress is indeed astounding.

Today, Noland Arbaugh can play chess, or even “Civilization VI”, but also control a music player on his computer, all by thought. For him, everything is not yet perfect, but he is pleased with what he is able to do thanks to this implant. As a reminder, in the past, this same technology had been successfully tested on monkeys. And because the implant can also stimulate neurons, many hope to one day be able to use it to treat degenerative diseases or restore lost motor functions.

Neuralink is the first player to directly implant its connected chip in the brain and this is why these first returns are being observed with great attention by the scientific world. The company has also launched a volunteer recruitment campaign among Americans over the age of 18 suffering from severe physical disabilities. Besides Noland Arbaugh, other people should soon benefit from this program.