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First human brain chip implant patient plays chess online

2024.04.09 21:40:53 John Kim

[Processor, Photo Credit to Pixabay]

In a groundbreaking achievement for neurotechnology, on March 21, 2024, Noland Arbaugh, the first patient of a human brain chip implant, showcased remarkable control as he played an online game chess solely through thought.


Neuralink, an American neurotechnology company founded by Elon Musk, has succeeded in implanting a human brain chip dubbed ‘telepathy,’ into a human brain for the first time in history.


The patient, Noland Arbaugh, is a 29 year old Arizona native who had been paralyzed from the shoulder down due to a swimming accident in 2016.


However, with the assistance of Neuralink, he was able to regain partial control by moving his cursor despite his paralysis.


The product being tested is called ‘telepathy’, which allows the patient to control the cursor through a wireless connection between the patient and the computer.


This astonishing achievement was captured in a video uploaded on Musk’s social media platform X, where he was live streamed and showed full control of moving the computer cursor just by thinking.


The video garnered more than 70 million views within a few days.


In the video, he played online chess hands-free along while explaining his accident, and managed to end the match by winning the game.


Arbaugh's chess-playing video demonstrated the actual potential of neurotechnology being adapted to revolutionize the lives of individuals with paralysis.


Previously unable to engage in activities requiring physical movement, Arbaugh now demonstrated the ability to manipulate digital interfaces through pure thought.


In the same video, he also effortlessly controlled the music that was being played from the computer through pure brain control before playing chess.


Arbaugh continued his journey with neuralink by playing Civilization VI for 8 hours straight solely through his mind despite being his paralysis.


Moreover, he has become the first person to upload a post on platform X just by thinking through telepathy.


In the video uploaded in X, he expressed “I just wasn't really able to play it as much as I wanted to and you all gave me that ability again.”, showing great satisfaction for the new technology.


However, Arbaugh acknowledged the limitations of Neuralink that telepathy is “not perfect”, near the end of the video.


Nevertheless, the successful demonstration of neurotechnology has become a hope for paralyzed patients like Arbaugh to control the cursor just by thinking, as they no longer have to go through cumbersome processes to simply move a cursor in their computer screens.


Previous attempts to implant miniscule chips into the human brains, typically to the paralyzed people, have been made.


A neurotechnology company, Cybernetic Inc. implanted human brain chips to five paralyzed people in an attempt to enable them to operate a computer just by thinking.


The experiment proved successful, as the technology helped the patients control the cursor just by thinking.


However, the older chips required a device to be attached outside of the brain to transmit data into the computer.


Thus, Neuralink demonstrated a huge technical leap for brain-computer interfaces, giving hope for the paralyzed individuals.

John Kim / Grade 11
Chadwick International School