Neuralinks First Human Noland Arbaugh 78711173

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The first person to have a Neuralink computer chip surgically implanted in his brain has demonstrated how he uses his thoughts to move a computer cursor around the screen to play online chess and turn music streaming on and off.

Noland Arbaugh, 29, who was paralyzed from the shoulders down in a diving accident eight years ago, joined a live stream with a Neuralink engineer at X to show the public how brain-computer interface technology works.

“Everything is done with my brain. If you all can see the cursor moving on the screen, that’s me,” he said live, as he showed his cursor moving over an online chess game. “Very nice, huh?”

Noland Arbaugh, 29, is the first person to have a Neuralink computer chip implanted in his brain. CaringBridge

The chip consists of 1,000 electrodes programmed to collect information about the brain’s neural activity and movement intent, and then sends that data to a Neuralink computer to decode it to translate thoughts into action.

Arbaugh explained that he just imagines the cursor moving where he wants it to go, and it does.

“Basically, it was like using the Force on a cursor and I could move it wherever I wanted. Just look somewhere on the screen and it will move where I want it to, it was such a wild experience when it first happened,” he said, referring to Star Wars.

Quadriplegic Arbaugh can now move a computer cursor with just his thoughts. Neuralink

At the end of January, a robotic surgeon inserted the implant into his brain, becoming the first human test subject of the quadrilateral chip developed by Elon Musk’s company.

He said the operation was “very easy” and he has since been discharged from the hospital a day later with no cognitive impairment.

“It’s crazy, it really is. It is very beautiful. I am very lucky to be a part of it,” he said. “Every day it seems like we learn something new and I can’t describe how great it is to be able to do that.”

Arbaugh said the chip technology is a work in progress, but it has already changed his life. Neuralink

Before getting the chip, Arbaugh will need someone else’s help to play online chess and video games like Civilization VI.

“Now I can literally lay in bed and play to my heart’s content,” he said — at least until his rechargeable chip’s battery dies.

A short 9-minute video stream posted on Neuralink’s X account is the closest the human tech startup has shared with the public. Founded in 2016, the company has largely kept information about its technology and human trials under wraps, prompting calls for greater transparency.

The US Food and Drug Administration last year green-lighted human trials of the brain chip after the company conducted hundreds of tests on animals, facing a backlash from animal rights groups in the process.

Neuralink did not say how many people will be enrolled in the six-year trial or where the trials will take place. He also did not register his research on a government website that registers medical trials involving human test subjects. According to Wired.

The Neuralink chip was approved by the FDA for human testing last year. Neuralink/AFP via Getty Images

For his part, Arbaugh said he signed up to try the implant because he “wanted to be a part of something that I felt was going to change the world.”

But he admitted that being the first person to have a chip implanted in his brain is not without its challenges, without elaborating.

“It’s not perfect. I would say we had some problems,” he told the live audience. “I don’t want people to think this is the end of the journey. There is much work to be done. But it has already changed my life.”

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