Neuralink livestream shows patient playing chess with mind control

  • Neuralink’s livestream showcased the first implanted participant’s ability to play games through thought alone, despite quadriplegia.
  • The participant’s demonstration and Neuralink’s promise of further updates highlight progress in brain-machine interface technology.
  • With plans for human clinical trials targeting paralysis patients, Neuralink aims to enable device control solely through thought, advancing towards Elon Musk’s vision of enhanced communication capabilities.

Elon Musk‘s Neuralink, a brain-machine interface company, live-streamed updates on its first implanted participant. Despite being quadriplegic, the participant can now play games like ‘Civilisation’ and chess through thought alone. The man, self-introduced as Noland Arbaugh, demonstrated moving chess pieces while remarking, ‘If you can all see the cursor move, then yes, that’s me doing it, isn’t it cool?’

During the livestream, he described his learning process with the brain-machine interface, stating, ‘I would try to move my right hand, left, right, forward, backwards, and then, from there, imagine the cursor moving.’ He also added that he feels fortunate to be the first tester for Neuralink: ‘I can’t even describe how cool it is to be able to do this.’

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Neuralink engineers will release more information in the upcoming days

Although the livestream had limited content, Neuralink engineers promised to release more information in the upcoming days. As previously reported, Neuralink announced recruitment for the first batch of human clinical trial participants last year, targeting individuals paralysed due to spinal cord injuries or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Patients implanted with Neuralink devices will be able to control computers and smartphones solely through thought, leading to the company’s first product being aptly named ‘Telepathy’. In 2021, Neuralink released a video showcasing a nine-year-old macaque named Pager playing a ping-pong video game using thought, demonstrating the powerful capabilities of Telepathy.

Control phones or computers with just your mind

‘It enables you to control phones or computers with just your mind, thereby indirectly controlling almost any device. The initial users will be those who have lost limb function. Imagine if Professor Hawking could communicate faster than a typist or auctioneer; that’s our goal,’ explained Musk on social media.


Chloe Chen

Chloe Chen is a junior writer at BTW Media. She graduated from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and had various working experiences in the finance and fintech industry. Send tips to

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