Elon Musk’s latest Neuralink technology made a monkey playing virtual video games with his mind.
Neuralink made a high-powered microchip and backed by artificial intelligence. It is currently being tested to go into humans’ brains. The company shared a video on Thursday that featured a macaque operating a technology to enjoy video games and Pong.
Elon Musk’s Neuralink has already tested the chip on primates earlier. This time they made it public with this new video. Musk said during 2019 in a presentation that his company could make such a device that enables a monkey to control a computer using artificial intelligence.
Neuralink ran a demonstration live in August 2020. At that time, a Gertrude named pig experienced such technology as part of the test.
Pager, the monkey’s brain activity recorded by Neuralink’s brain chip
The company added that they placed a microchip in Pager’s brain. Pager is the monkey’s name. The video showed that Pager was holding a joystick enjoying the video game. He was moving the cursor around the colored square. There was also a banana smoothie which he was having while moving the cursor successfully.
There was a continuous analysis of Pager’s brain activity in the computer while using the joystick. Elon Musk’s chip was recording all the reactions in the monkey’s brain. Pager was continuing the game even when they unplugged the joystick out of the machine. The Neuralink microchip was relaying his brain signals.
According to Neuralink’s theory, the same technology will also provide humans ‘synthetic limbs’ through that microchip placed in the human brain. Musk tweeted on Thursday that this new device from Neuralink would allow paralyzed people to use a smartphone.
More paths to validate Elon Musk’s Neuralink Technology
Newcastle University professor of neuroscience Andrew Jackson said that there was nothing new in primates using technology playing video games through neutral interfaces. The world had already seen comparative tests in 2002 with such demonstrations. He said that the test went well then, and it is right to make the discovery go through such a test where one knows what it will result in. He thinks Neuralink must opt for a rather sensible path to gain the validation of its device. There will be more contributions from this device indeed in the coming future. Scientists significantly can gain colossal insight using such devices when it’s available. There is also room for improvement in the neutral interface of that device. Then only paralyzed people can use that device.
He also said that the company engineered the microscope so that it was in the monkey’s skull without any wire. It is an advanced invention.
Animal welfare gains momentum with a wireless Neuralink technology
Jackson added that he found it amazing the device is wireless. No wires were hanging through Pager’s skin. Still, all signals of his brain activity were going to the computer. This invention improves the testing process on humans as it increases the humans’ safety in such demonstrations. There have always been risks of infections if any wires are connected along the skin. It also improves the animal’s welfare as their safety is getting prioritized in the test. Neuroscience studies will gain from this technology.
The bioengineering researcher Rylie Green from London’s Imperial College applauded Neuralink’s new device. She was praising the welfare that technology provides to animals. Macaque was moving freely as there were no wires. Nothing could cage it. It is incredible progress in the field of neuroscience primate testing. While it is not astonishing, a positive step has significantly been taken for the future.