Neuralink’s recent video introduces the macaque monkey Pager, who can be seen moving a cursor on a computer screen using just neural activity. His reward? A banana smoothie.
“He’s learnt to interact with a computer for a tasty banana smoothie delivered through a straw,” says a narrator in the video. “One of the things the Neuralink allows Pager to do is to play his favourite video game, Pong.”
Pager the monkey playing Pong
The brain-computer interface (BMI) will initially be used to help people with paralysis, who will be able to use neural activity to operate computers and mobile devices.
“Neuralink is working super hard to ensure implant safety & is in close communication with the FDA,” Musk tweeted in February. “If things go well, we might be able to do initial human trials later this year.”
Musk followed the video with a roadmap for developing a Neuralink chip for humans. He tweeted: “First Neuralink product will enable someone with paralysis to use a smartphone with their mind faster than someone using thumbs.
“The device is implanted flush with skull & charges wirelessly, so you look & feel totally normal,” added Musk. The chip implantation process would be similar to Lasik laser eye surgery.
It would involve a neurosurgical robot fitting flexible ‘threads’ into the brain, which are connected to an implantable computer chip. Eventually, Neuralink could be used in visitor attractions for the ultimate personalised experience.
Meanwhile, Musk’s underground transportation system beneath the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) has been unveiled ahead of its launch in June 2021.