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First disabled man to be inserted with Neuralink Chip can control a mouse with his mind

Noland Arbaugh

The first person to be inserted with a Neuralink brain chip can now play video games and control a cursor just by using their thoughts.

Paraplegic Noland Arbaugh was chosen by Elon Musk to trial the technology which could be a gamechanger for people with physical disabilities.

In a clip shared on X Arbaugh explains he has been in a wheelchair since he suffered a “freak diving accident” eight years ago which left the 29-year-old paralysed from the shoulders down.

The video shows the Arizona man playing a game of chess moving the mouse across the online board by using the power of telepathy. 

'I'm so freaking lucky to be a part of this, everyday it feels like we're learning new stuff,' he said. 

The Neuralink chip was announced by Musk earlier this year, at the time the billionaire did not name the volunteer, but did mention that they were 'able to move a mouse around the screen just by thinking.' 

Musk reposted the clip of Arbaugh using the chip on X with the caption ‘'Livestream of Neuralink demonstrating 'Telepathy' – controlling a computer and playing video games just by thinking.' 

Neuralink is operated by a robot which surgically places a brain-computer interface in a region of the brain that controls the body’s movement.

A computer chip is attached to tiny flexible threads stitched into the brain by a ‘sewing-machine-like’ robot.

The ‘sewing robot’ grabs a small piece of the skull, attaches the thread-like electrodes to specific areas of the brain and stitches up the hole leaving a small visible scar.

It may sound like a long operation, but the procedure only takes 30 minutes, no anaesthesia is needed and the patient can go home the same day.

Aabaugh, who has lived with ‘absolutely no feeling’ from below his shoulders since his accident in 2016, said the surgery was ‘super easy’ and there was ‘nothing to be afraid of’.

He loved playing chess before the injury, and now thanks to the pioneering technology it’s a pastime he can still enjoy.

Arbaugh told Mail Online: 'This is one of the things that y'all have enabled me to do... I wasn't really able to do much the last few years.' 

He was joined in the clip by a Neuralink engineer who asked Arbaugh how he was able to telepathically move the mouse.

'So we started out by trying a few different things,' he explained. 'We basically went from what we'd call 'imagined movement', versus 'attempted movement', and we started out with attempting to move.'

Arbaugh went on to confess he will continue playing video games until his implant runs out of charge and compared the tech to using ‘The Force’ from Star Wars.

But Neuralink comes as a cost, at least to the animals. 

Thousands of animals have paid the price of making the technology safe for humans, researchers drilled holes into monkey’s heads before filling them with glue up to 10 times and had parts of their limbs amputated causing vomiting and diarrhoea before they were put down.

At least 1,500 animals, including pigs and sheep, have sacrificed suffering and their lives for Neuralink technology and there is still a way to go.

Arbaugh said the implant is ‘not perfect’  'has run into some issues.'

'I don't want anyone to think that this is the end of the journey, there's still a lot of work to be done,' he said. 

'But it has already changed my life, and I think that people who are thinking about applying for the human trials, or are thinking about finding some way to help out with this, to do your part.

'That's the reason I got into it, because I just wanted to help. I want to be a part of something that I feel is going to change the world.' 

[ Noland Arbaugh said this Halloween he is going to dress up as Professor X from X-Men, a paraplegic mutant that can move objects telepathically. ]

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