A video in which it seems like a monkey is playing Pong, the computer game with its mind, got released by Neuralink, the implant company that Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla owns.
A macaque, named Pager who is 9-years old, had a Neuralink device got inserted into its brain on both sides. It can get seen in the YouTube video that the company posted on Friday.
The company Neuralink has been generating an implantable chip that has Bluetooth enabled in it and gets used to communicate with a computer through a small receiver and got shown in pigs previously.
As Pager movies the cursor on the screen using a joystick, the narrator in the video says:
“He’s learned to interact with a computer for a tasty banana smoothie delivered through a straw.”
The two Neuralink devices implanted on both sides of the brain record the activity of the brain through more than 2,000 small electrodes in the motor cortex Pager. According to the video, it controls hand and arm movements.
The information from the neurons of the monkey gets turned into a decoder by the Neuralink feed. That can then get used in predicting what hand movement Pager wants to do.
This model shows the connection happening between the activity of the brain and the joystick movements.
After a small calibration period, the decoder output can get used to moving the cursor around, rather than the joystick getting manipulated by Pager.
Once they disconnect the joystick, it shows Pager using its brain to move the cursor.
The narrator further explains that people would get the decoder calibrated by imagining the movements of their hands.
The narrator in the video says:
“Our goal is to enable a person with paralysis to use a computer or phone with their brain activity alone.”
On Thursday, Elon Must took to Twitter to let people know of further discussed plans for their devices.
The first iteration of the device “will enable someone with paralysis to use a smartphone with their mind faster than someone using thumbs.”
He also added:
“Later versions will be able to shunt signals from Neuralinks in the brain to Neuralinks in body motor/sensory neuron clusters, thus enabling, for example, paraplegics to walk again.”