First Patient With Neuralink Brain Chip Can Play Video Games with His Mind: 'It's Crazy'

Noland Arbaugh, who received the first implant in late January, said that although there's "still a lot of work to be done," the implant has "changed my life"

<p>Neuralink/X (2)</p> Noland Arbaugh

Neuralink/X (2)

Noland Arbaugh
  • Noland Arbaugh, the first patient to have a Neuralink chip implanted in their brain, demonstrated some of the cool things he can do with his brain, like playing video games and controlling music

  • The 29-year-old quadriplegic had the chip surgically implanted in his brain in late January

  • Arbaugh said they have "run into some issues," but that he has not had any "cognitive impairments" since the surgery

The first patient to have a Neuralink chip implanted in their brain is opening up about the experience nearly two months after undergoing surgery.

Noland Arbaugh, a quadriplegic, introduced himself as the man who had the quarter-size chip surgically implanted in his brain in late January during a livestream Wednesday with Neuralink on X.

Arbaugh, 29, said he became paralyzed from below the shoulders about eight years ago following what he described as “a freak diving accident.”

During the livestream with a Neuralink engineer, Arbaugh demonstrated how he can use his mind to do certain tasks, such as play a game of chess on his computer.

Related: Elon Musk Says Neuralink's First Human Patient Can Move Computer Mouse 'by Just Thinking’

“This is one of the things that y’all have enabled me to do,” he explained. “It’s something that I wasn’t able to really do much the last few years, especially not like this. … Now, it’s all being done with my brain.”

Arbaugh then used his brain to pause the music playing in the background, per the livestream. He’s also used the implant to play the video game Civilization VI, which he “played for eight hours straight” after receiving the implant.

“It’s crazy. It really is. It’s so cool,” Arbaugh said. “I’m so freaking lucky to be a part of this and stuff. Everyday, it seems like we’re learning new stuff and I just can’t even describe how cool it is to be able to do this.”

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Arbaugh said January’s surgery “was super easy,” and was released from the hospital a day later. He claimed to have no subsequent “cognitive impairments,” though he has still “run into some issues” with the new technology.

Though there is “still a lot of work to be done,” Arbaugh said the chip “has already changed my life.”

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“I think that they are going to change the world,” he added.

Neuralink received permission from the Food and Drug Administration to conduct the brain chip study on humans in May 2023, according to CNBC. The company began recruiting participants in September.

The chip, which has dozens of tiny threadlike electrodes, was placed in the part of the brain that controls movement, Reuters and CNN reported.

Neuralink previously faced accusations of violating the Animal Welfare Act, but in December 2022, Reuters reported the Agriculture Department did not find any violations aside from a self-reported incident in 2019.

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