See Elon Musk's Neuralink Monkeys Play Pong Using Just Their Brains
Perhaps "apes together strong," but monkeys with Neuralink embedded in their brains maybe even stronger. When Neuralink was shown off in August of last year
, it was a rather impressive technology which we could not wait to see where it went, even if it was slightly creepy. Since then, it seems many experiments have been done, and Elon Musk's company has progressed to testing on monkeys who can now play video games with just their mind.
Using the brain scanning functionality of the Neuralink
implant along with wireless capabilities, the Link could send data from any animal from their brain to a computer. After some training and decoding work on the transmitted data, the computer can then use it as input rather than physical input. This could have massive implications for paralyzed people should the tech come to market, but you can see a monkey playing Pong with its mind
The science behind this capability lies with the 1,024 electrodes for each Link, which "amplifies and digitizes the voltage recorded" from within the brain, as the Neuralink blog
states. Custom-built algorithms on the Link then detect spikes from the electrodes, which are put into a dataset, transmitted to a computer via Bluetooth every 25ms. According to humanbenchmark.com
, humans' average reaction time is 215ms, so 25ms for sending data should be plenty for gaming or anything which requires fast reactions.
In the future, Elon Musk and Neuralink plan to bring this technology to humans, but training with a dataset from a fully paralyzed person should
be impossible due to their inability to move their limbs. Thankfully, research has shown that "neurons in the motor cortex remain directionally tuned to movement intention even in people with paralysis," so that you would only have to imagine moving to collect the necessary data.
Whether you find this creepy or not, this technology could give more freedom to those who are paralyzed or suffer from other disorders which may inhibit them from living a normal life. In the future, the hope is that anyone could pair the Link with a mobile device or PC over Bluetooth and interact with technology in nearly any way imaginable. Hopefully, soon we will find out more about where Neuralink is going, so stay tuned for updates.