Watch a monkey with Neuralink implants play Pong with his mind

He's probably better at Pong than you and he's not even using a controller.


UPDATE April 8, 9:20 p.m. PT: Elon Musk has tweeted that the Neuralink monkeys will have their own Twitch channel and Discord servers soon.

Science and technology are advancing at a rapid rate, and the latest bit of tech that is drawing a lot of attention is the Neuralink. While the industry has heard a bit about it, today Neuralink has shown Pager, a monkey, playing a game called MindPong with nothing but the neural messages that Neuralink has decoded from its brain. Prepare yourself, because this video is wild. Please, check it out.

With two Neuralinks implanted in the motor cortex area of his brain, Pager begins the calibration process by playing a game that requires he direct a ball into highlighted boxes using a joystick. As he does this, he is rewarded with a banana smoothie through a straw.

While Pager is playing and sucking happily on his nutritious meal delivery straw, the Neuralink units in his brain are feeding the neuron activity into a decoder algorithm in a nearby computer. This allows the researchers to “predict Pager’s intended hand movements in real-time.” Once this information has been correctly calibrated, the researchers are able to disconnect the controller and rely entirely on the algorithm to decode Pager’s neurons and send that information to the game. The video shows Pager still accurately getting the ball into the boxes despite the controller being unplugged.

All of this calibration and decoding allows Pager to play an actual game of Pong without even touching a joystick. Not only that, but he plays it surprisingly well, even at high speeds.

For those not in the know, Neuralink is a project by Elon Musk. Neuralink's end goal is for someone who is paralyzed to be able to use a computer or phone with nothing but their brain activity. As Musk points out, they ought to be able to use it faster than someone using their fingers. If the technology keeps advancing as fast as it has, it could be a reality sooner rather than later.

Elon Musk delivered more good news later on via his Twitter account. He revealed that Pager will soon be on Twitch and Discord. While Pager paves the way for the Neuralink, perhaps in the future we'll see another monkey called Albert heading to space, and then on to Mars, equipped with a Neuralink.

You can read more about this and Pager's experience on the Neuralink blog. Make sure to keep it locked to Shacknews as we bring you the latest news on Neuralink and other ground-breaking new technologies.

Guides Editor

Hailing from the land down under, Sam Chandler brings a bit of the southern hemisphere flair to his work. After bouncing round a few universities, securing a bachelor degree, and entering the video game industry, he's found his new family here at Shacknews as a Guides Editor. There's nothing he loves more than crafting a guide that will help someone. If you need help with a guide, or notice something not quite right, you can message him on X: @SamuelChandler 

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