Elon Musk’s Neuralink teaches Monkey to play games with its mind

Elon Musk’s brain implant company has taught a monkey how to play games using its mind.

Neuralink is currently developing a fully-implanted, wireless, high-channel count brain-machine interface (BMI) which it hopes will help people with paralysis use their neural activity to operate computers and mobile devices.

The company has tested the technology on a macaque monkey called Pager, who was able to move a cursor on a computer screen during a game of ‘MindPong’, by using neural activity via a 1,024 electrode fully-implanted neural recording and data transmission device.

The device was implanted in the hand and arm areas of the motor cortex, a part of the brain that is involved in planning and executing movements, about six weeks ago.

Neuralink released a video of the monkey playing a game of MindPong last week.

“By modelling the relationship between different patterns of neural activity and intended movement directions, we can build a model (i.e., “calibrate a decoder”) that can predict the direction and speed of an upcoming or intended movement,” said the company. “We can go further than simply predicting the most likely intended movement given the current pattern of brain activity: we can use these predictions to control, in real time, the movements of a computer cursor, or…a MindPong paddle.”

The neurons with upward preferred directions clearly increase their firing rates as the monkey moves his MindPong paddle upward, and the ones with downward preferred directions increase their firing rates as Pager moves his paddle downward.

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