Remember the time you wanted to watch tv but were too lazy to go look for the remote? What if you could just control your tv with your mind, without lifting a finger? Neuralink – a neurotechnology company, is developing brain implants to do just that – allow people to control machines with their thoughts.
And now, they have successfully enabled a monkey to use their technology and play video games through the power of its mind.
In a recent announcement through his new exclusive app Clubhouse, Elon Musk, co-founder of Neuralink, revealed:
“We’ve already got a monkey with a wireless implant in its skull… who can play video games using his mind… 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 (Co-founder of Neuralink)
The company, co-founded by the tech giant in 2016, chiefly aims to assist people with disabilities and brain injuries, by enabling them to control machines with their thoughts, using its implantable brain-machine interface (BMI). These devices contain electrodes that can detect neuronal activity in the brain and convert it into codes that machines can understand.
Talking about the monkey’s health, Musk said that the animal looked “totally normal and happy”. You couldn’t even make out where the implant was inserted. Not surprising, if you consider that he’s built a robot just for this purpose!
But this is not the first time Neuralink has tested its device on animals.
Last year, Musk introduced a pig named Gertrude, who had a prototype of the implant embedded into her brain. As a result, the wired device recorded her neuronal activity and displayed it on a screen for the audience to see. Since then, the company has been able to improve the design by developing a wireless device.
While the device is yet to be tested on humans, it seems like we won’t have to wait long. In reply to a paralyzed Twitter user last month, Musk said that the company is now communicating with the FDA. If they approve the device, Neuralink might be able to begin human trials this year!
Neuralink can help achieve Human-Machine symbiosis
Although Neuralink’s main goal is to create an assistive device for disabled people, Musk hopes that the device can eventually allow humans to fuse with artificial intelligence – and “go along for the ride”.
“People are already a cyborg, in that you already have a tertiary digital layer… in the form of your phones and computers. With a direct neural interface we can improve the bandwidth between your cortex and your digital tertiary layer.”Elon Musk (Co-founder of Neuralink)
He said that using this technology, people would be able to communicate telepathically and even save their thoughts and memories, which could then be uploaded into a machine when they died.
Well, it looks like Sheldon Cooper finally got what he wanted!
Elon Musk says his start-up Neuralink has wired up a monkey to play video games using its mind