Footage shows Neuralink brain chip patient playing video games with mind

Elon Musk's company posts clip of paralysed 29-year-old man with implant moving computer cursor

Neuralink’s implant is the size of five stacked coins and was placed in the patient's brain through surgery. Reuters
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The first human to have a Neuralink brain chip implant is now able to move a computer cursor and play chess and other video games on a computer using his brain, the company said.

Elon Musk’s Neuralink streamed a live video on X showing Noland Arbaugh, a 29-year-old quadriplegic, explaining how his life has changed since having the chip implanted in January.

“It’s all being done with my brain. You see the cursor moving around the screen? That’s all me,” he said. “I love playing chess, this is one of the things you all have enabled me to do, something that I wasn’t able to do much the last few years, especially not like this. I had to use a mouth stick before.”

During the video, Mr Arbaugh explained he was paralysed about eight years ago in a diving accident. “I dislocated my C4 and C5,” he said. “I have no sensation or movement below my shoulders.”

Neuralink’s implant is the size of five stacked coins and was placed in Mr Arbaugh's brain through surgery, the company said.

Elon Musk's Neuralink implants computer chip into human brain

Elon Musk's Neuralink implants computer chip into human brain

“It’s like I’m using 'the force' with the cursor,” Mr Arbaugh said on the video, referencing the Star Wars franchise. “I’m so lucky to be part of this.”

The video of Mr Arbaugh has been viewed at least eight million and has quickly become a trending topic on X, also owned by Mr Musk.

The excitement surrounding the video comes less than two months after Mr Musk announced that Neuralink had installed a brain implant in a human for the first time.

Neuralink was founded in 2016, and while the video is generating excitement in medical and technology circles, the company is not alone in the assistive technology space.

Australia-based Synchron has similar technology that it says was implanted in patients in 2022. Unlike Neuralink, Synchron's technology is considered to be less invasive, and does not require cutting into the skull.

Neuralink has not been without criticism. It has been under investigation for alleged animal abuse during device testing. The company said it won approval last year from US regulators to test brain implants in humans.

Neuralink is based in California and has between 200 and 500 employees, its LinkedIn profile says.

Updated: March 21, 2024, 8:31 AM