Quadriplegic Patient Beats Video Games with Neuralink Implant

Quadriplegic Patient Beats Video Games with Neuralink Implant

Hiroki Tanaka
3 min read

A quadriplegic patient, Noland Arbaugh, who underwent a Neuralink's brain implant surgery in January, has exhibited exceptional progress. Arbaugh has achieved substantial improvement in his gaming skills, surpassing other players in games like Chess, Civilization VI, and Mario Kart, using the implant. With Arbaugh dedicating 69 hours a week to using the implant, including 34 hours for personal use, the advancements are notable. Despite encountering some issues with electrode retraction from the chip, Neuralink's software enhancements have significantly bolstered Arbaugh's performance, with an impressive 8.0 bits-per-second in cursor control. Arbaugh is looking forward to live-streaming additional gaming sessions utilizing the implant. Neuralink's primary focus is on elevating cursor control performance to match that of able-bodied individuals, with plans to broaden its functionality to encompass text entry and physical world control.

Key Takeaways

  • Neuralink's first human patient, Noland Arbaugh, has significantly improved in using the brain implant for gaming
  • Arbaugh can now beat other players in games like Chess, Civilization VI, and Mario Kart
  • He uses the implant for 69 hours a week, both for Neuralink sessions and personal use
  • Despite some electrodes retracting from the chip, Neuralink's software refinements improved Arbaugh's cursor control accuracy
  • Arbaugh aims to match Neuralink engineers' BPS (bits-per-second) and looks forward to controlling robotic arms and wheelchairs in the future


The success demonstrated by Neuralink and Noland Arbaugh carries substantial implications for the assistive technology sector. This breakthrough could lead to heightened investment in brain-computer interface (BCI) startups, propelling significant growth within the industry. Additionally, it may incentivize competitors to expedite their research and development endeavors, thereby fostering innovation in BCI technology.

The direct factors contributing to this progress include Neuralink's consistent software improvements and Arbaugh's unwavering commitment to utilizing the implant. Indirectly, the ongoing influx of investments in neurotechnology research driven by the potential of BCI to transform the lives of individuals with disabilities is a significant catalyst.

Immediate effects are likely to encompass heightened public interest in BCI technology and increased investment in Neuralink. In the long run, we anticipate a broader adoption of BCI across various applications, such as gaming, education, and rehabilitation, potentially paving the way for the emergence of new industries linked to neurotechnology.

Nations with robust technology and healthcare sectors, such as the United States and China, stand to gain from these advancements, as do organizations specializing in neurotechnology and assistive devices. However, potential ethical concerns surrounding data privacy and the potential misuse of such influential technology may pose challenges.

In essence, Neuralink's breakthrough with its first human patient signifies a significant milestone in BCI technology, with the potential to reshape the technological and healthcare landscapes, provided ethical considerations are effectively addressed.

Did You Know?

  • Neuralink's brain implant: Neuralink, founded by Elon Musk, is a neurotechnology company that focuses on developing implantable brain-machine interfaces. The brain implant, also known as the "Link," is a small, surgically placed device that establishes direct connections to the brain, facilitating various functions, including cursor control and potentially text entry and physical world control in the future.
  • Bits-per-second (BPS): BPS denotes the measure of data transfer speed in computing and telecommunications. In this context, it pertains to the volume of bits transmitted or received per second. Neuralink's concentration on enhancing cursor control performance aims to match or exceed the BPS achieved by able-bodied individuals, which would notably enhance the functionality and usability of the brain implant.
  • Robotic arms and wheelchair control: A promising application of Neuralink's brain implant technology involves the control of robotic arms and wheelchairs. This advancement holds the potential to empower individuals with motor impairments, such as quadriplegics, enabling them to independently execute tasks and navigate their surroundings more freely. The company's efforts are geared towards expanding the capabilities of the implant to include these features, offering the potential to enhance the quality of life for individuals with disabilities.

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