Neuralink, the launch of the brain implant founded by SpaceX head honcho and self-proclaimed “technoking” Elon Musk, has unveiled a new video of a nine-year-old monkey named “Pager” playing Pong … with the brain.
The three-minute video shows Pager learning to control a computer with brain activity. First, the monkey uses a joystick to interact with the computer for a “tasty banana smoothie, delivered through a straw.” The narrator says that Pager has two Neuralink devices implanted in his brain. The devices, which Musk calls a “Fitbit for your skull”
When Pager plays through the games, the narrator explains that the Neuralink devices in his brain read his brain activity, and that the activity is decoded by a computer. When the team disconnects the joystick, Pager continues to play the game – and the brain implant allows him to play “MindPong”, as Neuralink has called it.
The full video is below.
Musk claimed in a tweet Thursday that the first product from the startup would allow “someone with paralysis to use a smartphone with their mind faster than someone who uses their thumb.”
It is a future that still seems far away.
“MindPong is a first demonstration of the potential capabilities of N1 Link,” the company said in a press release. “However, it is important to remember that it is a small bit of what our device is meant to achieve.”
Neuralink has been relatively radio silent since it was first founded in 2016. The last two years have startedwhich describes the progress. In 2019, the Neuralink unit debuted, and steady progress seemed to have been made the following year, when the pig implants were revealed.
The briefings also served as recruitment stations, with Musk asking people to get in touch and join. A similar exclamation point was made at the end of the Neuralink monkey video. But the information is still small: Musk and Neuralink have published a scientific article, in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, back in October 2019.
Musk teased Neuralink had connected the brain of a monkey to play video games. “We have a monkey with a wireless implant in his skull that can play video games using his mind,” he noted. We have now seen it in action, but we do not have much in the way of scientific evidence here, yet.
In the simultaneous press release on Neuralink’s website, the company states “our first goal is to give people with paralysis their digital freedom back: to communicate more easily via text, to follow their curiosity online, to express their creativity through photography and art, and, yes , to play video games. “
These have been weird days for Neuralink. Earlier this week, Neuralink president and co-founder Max Hodak made an ambiguous tweet about Jurassic Park as. Monkeys playing Pong are not entirely dino-DNA, but … maybe it’s even more impressive? Who should I tell?