Neuralink — a moon shot project — does not look far from reality anymore as the company demonstrated a monkey playing a video game with the mind. Over the years, Musk was passionate about the capabilities of brain-machine interfaces (BMI) that could allow people to control digital devices handsfree.
But when Neuralink, in a live event, showcased Link implanted in a pig, in 2020, experts had mixed opinions. While some believed that it was groundbreaking, but for some, it was mediocre neuroscience. The criticisms, however, were valid as the company did not show any valid outcome from the signals it pulled out from 1024 channels from the Link. With the recent demonstrations by Neuralink, the company has made it clear that the signals can be effectively modeled to understand what a user wants to perform.
In the latest video, Neuralink showcased how a monkey named Pager was able to play a game with the mind. To do the unprecedented, the company placed a Link on the left and right side of the motor cortex that controls both sides of the body.
“By modeling 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,” mentioned the company in a blog post.
The company also believes that patterns of brain activity can be used to predict the possible control action through limbs. This can then be used to perform or control various movements like cursor movement, clicks, and more on digital devices. In the released video, we could see how it was used to control the MindPong paddle by Pager.
Neuralink used the signals from Pager’s mind while manually playing with a joystick to perform activities based on the signals from the mind while playing a different game. Just like any artificial intelligence application that can predict future events when trained on a colossal amount of data, Neuralink can scale its technology to endless possibilities by extracting data from the brain.
Such capabilities can now open up doors for a major shift in the way humans treat disease and the way they live. Neuralink is like a once-in-a-century innovation that would leave a significant impact on humankind forever.