Neuralink, Elon Musk’s brain implant startup, posted a video of a monkey called Pager who was fitted with chips allowing him to play a game of Pong with his brain.
The CEO of Tesla and SpaceX created Neuralink in 2017, touting it as the human response to artificial intelligence, which he says will make humans “house cats” once the algorithms are smarter than humans. But the first goal of the technology, he said at the time, was to help people with neurological conditions that prevent them from controlling the movements of the hands and arms …
Pager’s three-minute video illustrates the company’s work so far, apparently showing a macaque monkey controlling a cursor in the Pong video game without using its hands. The video first shows Pager learning to use a joystick to hit graphical targets on a computer screen. The Neuralink narrator explains that Pager has two implants in the parts of the brain that control movement of the hands and arms. These devices are called Link.
“Today, we are pleased to reveal the Link’s ability to allow a macaque monkey, named Pager, to move a cursor on a computer screen with neural activity using a neural recording and data transmission device. fully implanted 1024 electrodes, called N1 Link, ”explains Neuralink in an article. “We implanted the Link in the hand and arm areas of the motor cortex, a part of the brain involved in planning and executing movements. We placed Links bilaterally: one in the left motor cortex ( which controls movement on the right side of the body) and another in the right motor cortex (which controls the left side of the body). “
An iPhone can be paired with Neuralink devices in the monkey’s brain to observe it
The narrator of the video explains, “This is Pager, he’s a nine-year-old macaque who had a Neuralink placed on either side of his brain about six weeks ago.”
“If you look closely, you can see that the fur on his head has not yet fully grown back. He has learned to interact with a computer to receive a tasty banana smoothie through a straw.”
“As you can see, he’s focused and he plays entirely on his own accord,” the narrator says later in the video. The narrator explained that an iPhone can be paired with Neuralink devices in the monkey’s brain to observe it. The connection is made “in the same way that you can pair your phone with a Bluetooth speaker”.
The devices read regions of the monkey’s motor cortex to observe regions of the brain that change with, for example, upward movement of the hand versus rightward movement.
Neuralink posted the video as part of a recruitment drive. In addition to software engineers and robotics experts, the company is also looking for animal care specialists to help it with its mission of “developing ultra-high bandwidth brain-machine interfaces to connect animals. humans and computers “.
Neuralink is looking for motivated Animal Care Specialists who enjoy working in a fast-paced research environment. Animal Care Specialists in this role will work closely with a multidisciplinary team to support research and development. “Brain-machine interfaces in animal models. Staff in this position will care for animals, administer treatments, perform experiments and participate in surgical procedures,” the job posting reads.