Musk Implants Chip in Quadriplegic’s Brain, The Results Are Astounding 

H_Ko /
H_Ko /

Twenty-nine-year-old Noland Arbaugh became the first human to have a Neuralink brain chip implanted after suffering paralysis from the shoulders down due to a diving accident eight years ago. The implant, developed by Elon Musk’s company Neuralink, allows him to control a computer cursor with his thoughts, enabling him to play online chess and other video games without physical movement.  

The surgery to implant the device was described as “super easy,” and Arbaugh reported no cognitive impairments following the procedure. He shared his excitement about Neuralink, which has given him a newfound freedom to do everyday tasks independently. “It’s not perfect. I would say we have run into some issues. I don’t want people to think that this is the end of the journey. There’s a lot of work to be done, but it has already changed my life,” Arbaugh said. 

Arbaugh’s paralysis made it hard for him to play his favorite game, Civilization VI, for more than a few hours at a time. He often needed someone to help him move around to get comfortable again. But during a livestream on X, Arbaugh, in a specialized chair, was playing an online chess game unassisted. 

It’s a testament to the advanced technology of the Neuralink brain chip. This device translates Arbaugh’s thoughts into actions on the computer, allowing him to interact with the digital world despite his paralysis. It’s a significant step forward in assistive technology, offering new possibilities for individuals with similar conditions. 

Arbaugh said that operating the Neuralink device felt natural to him quickly and that to control the cursor on his computer, he only had to think about it moving. “Basically, it’s like using the force on a cursor,” he said, referring to the mystical mental force used in Star Wars films. 

Neuralink represents a significant advancement in brain-computer interface (BCI) technology. These BCIs are designed to interpret neuron activity, allowing individuals with quadriplegia to control external devices using their thoughts. While not the first BCI, Neuralink wants to focus on developing thinner and less intrusive implantable devices than previous models.  

Neuralink’s technology shows promise in a rapidly evolving field of science. As more clinical trials are conducted and long-term outcomes studied, these devices’ effectiveness and safety will become clearer. 

Arbaugh’s only hiccup with the Neuralink chip is that he has to charge it after playing video games for a long time. Musk has once again proven his ability to produce innovative technology, even if Arbaugh mainly uses it to play chess online.  

For critics of Musk, it’s checkmate.