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Elon Musk's Neuralink Shares Video Of Macaque Playing Ping Pong With Its Mind

Elon Musk's Neuralink Shares Video Of Macaque Playing Ping Pong With Its Mind

Pager, a nine-year-old macaque monkey, had a Neuralink implanted around six weeks before filming the video

Rebecca Shepherd

Rebecca Shepherd

Elon Musk's company Neuralink has released a video showing a macaque monkey playing a game of ping pong using its mind.

The nine-year-old primate called Pager had a Neuralink implanted six weeks before the footage was filmed and was taught to play video games using a joystick along with a banana smoothie as a reward through a straw.

The Neuralink device was then sending information to a computer showing which neurons were firing, enabling the prediction of hand movements from the recordings.

After just a few minutes, they were able to use the output from the decoder to move the curser instead of the joystick - which was then removed.

This meant that Pager was left playing the game of ping pong with his mind.

YouTube/Neuralink

According to the commentary on the video, Neuralink's 'goal' is to 'enable a person with paralysis to use a computer or phone with their brain activity alone'.

It went on: "Because they wouldn't be able to move a joystick, they would calibrate the decoder by imagining hand movements and targets."

In a tweet about the Neuralink device, Elon Musk tweeted: "First @Neuralink product will enable someone with paralysis to use a smartphone with their mind faster than someone using thumbs."

Before adding: "Later versions will be able to shunt signals from Neuralinks in brain to Neuralinks in body motor/sensory neuron clusters, thus enabling, for example, paraplegics to walk again.

"The device is implanted flush with skull & charges wirelessly, so you look & feel totally normal."

Speaking on the Good Time Show, Musk said: "We've already got a monkey with a wireless implant in their skull, and the tiny wires, who can play video games using his mind.

"He's not uncomfortable, and he doesn't look weird. And you can't even see where the neural implant went in.

"One of the things we're trying to figure out is can we have the monkeys play mind 'Pong' with each other. That would be pretty cool."

Elon Musk.
PA

Despite testing on animals at the moment, Musk has previously said that he believes human trials could begin by the end of the year.

A follower told Elon he was in a terrible car accident 20 years ago that left him paralysed and he offered up his body and mind for human trials.

Musk replied: "Neuralink is working super hard to ensure implant safety & is in close communication with the FDA. If things go well, we might be able to do initial human trials later this year."

Featured Image Credit: YouTube/Neuralink

Topics: elon musk, News, Animals

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