The brain-machine interfacing company founded by Elon Musk, Neuralink released a video showing the monkey Pager playing the Pong video game. The nearly 3-minute video shared by Mr. Musk through his Twitter handle, shows the computer being controlled by a monkey’s brain.
“A monkey is literally playing a video game telepathically using a brain chip,” a statement relevant to the video shared on late Thursday from Mr. Musk’s Twitter handle read. The video shows a narrator explaining how Pager plays the video game.
Pager is a nine-year-old monkey with two devices from Neuralink set up on either side of his brain around six weeks ago. As per the narration in the video, he now learned how to move the cursors near the targets using a joystick, in exchange for a banana smoothie being delivered through straws.
The video’s narrator further explains that the company’s Link devices record Pager’s neuron activity while he is interacting with the computers. The company implanted more than 2,000 tiny wires in Pager’s motor cortex coordinating his arm and hand movements to make this possible.
This data is fed to a decoder algorithm that can predict the monkey’s intended real-time hand movements, says the narrator in the video. The video clearly shows Pager effortlessly controlling the paddles even when the joystick was unplugged in the video game Pong.
The company said that Pager was able to control the cursor to move wherever wanted without relying on the joystick as soon as the decoder was calibrated. The company’s blog post based on the video also emphasized the N1 network amplifying and digitizing the voltage recorded from every electrode (1024 electrodes in total).
Neuralink, researching for decades now, also says that the former BMI (Brain Machine Interface) used only some hundreds of electrodes. The company is in plans to “build a safe and effective clinical BMI system that is wireless and fully implantable,” so that everyone can carry them wherever they go, Neuralink’s statement further read.
Mr. Musk said that Pager is a happy monkey and the implants cannot be seen, in a statement. His statement on Thursday stated that the company’s product allows a paralyzed man to control his mobile faster than a normal person would do with his thumbs.
AI is getting smarter with days and the company’s technology would allow humans to join this ride, said Mr. Musk to Clubhouse during an interview in January. The technology still needs development but Neuralink is in hopes to help paralyzed people operate different machines using their minds.