First human with brain implant plays online chess with his mind: ‘Like using the Force on a cursor’ – Washington Examiner

The first human to be seen using a brain implant was livestreamed on the social platform X on Wednesday.

Neuralink’s social media account showed 29-year-old Noland Arbaugh playing online chess with his mind during a historic live video stream. He is paralyzed from the shoulders down after having survived a diving accident eight years ago.

The company’s initial human trial focused on involving paralyzed people with the goal of helping them use a cursor or keyboard with their thoughts.

Neuralink executive Shivon Zilis called it an “epic” moment.

“Neuralink’s epic first neural astronaut describing the technology and his experience with the implant in his own words,” Zilis wrote on social media, linking to the video.

Arbaugh described how he was using his imagination to move the cursor pieces in the chess game while his hands lay flat at his sides.

“Basically it’s like using the Force on a cursor to move wherever I wanted on the screen, and it would move where I wanted it to,” Arbaugh described while making a Star Wars reference.

He added, “It was such a wild experience.”

The paraplegic man expressed gratitude for the Neuralink chip in his brain.

“I am so freaking lucky to be a part of this. Every day seems like we’re learning new stuff. I can’t even describe how cool it is to even do this,” he said.

Arbaugh said he used to need help from his parents to play online games.

“Now I can literally lie in bed and play to my heart’s content,” he said.

He described his only hurdle was waiting for the implant to charge.

“If y’all can see the cursor moving around the screen, that’s all me,” Arbaugh said as he played chess. “It’s pretty cool, huh?”

Tech billionaire and Neuralink co-founder Elon Musk has been describing for several years that he was developing a system that would allow human brain signals to turn into movement. The Food and Drug Administration greenlighted the human trial to go ahead last year.

The first human received an implant from @Neuralink yesterday and is recovering well.

Initial results show promising neuron spike detection.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 29, 2024


In January, Musk broke the news that their first human had been given an implant and was recovering.

The news of a paraplegic man playing an online game with his mind came just a couple of months later after the initial announcement.