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Neuralink patient can control computer mouse with thoughts, says Elon Musk

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Elon Musk has announced the first human recipient of Neuralink’s experimental brain implant can now control a computer mouse using just their thoughts. The breakthrough comes one month after the initial implantation surgery.

According to Musk, the patient has made a full recovery with no noticeable side effects. Through the implanted chip, they can reportedly move the mouse cursor around a screen simply by thinking about hand movements.

Musk said the next goal is enabling “as many button presses as possible from thinking” – including drag and drop functions needed for tasks like highlighting text.

Founded by Musk in 2016, Neuralink is developing a brain-computer interface system to connect humans and machines. The rice-sized implant is surgically inserted by a robot into the motor cortex region of the brain.

In September 2022, Neuralink received FDA approval to start human clinical trials and began recruiting paralyzed patients. The first successful implantation occurred in January.

While further details are limited, the ability to control a computer with one’s mind represents a key milestone. It suggests the implant can accurately read brain signals and transmit instructions.

Read also: Nigeria to install e-Gates at airports to ease travel processing

However, experts note other brain-computer interface companies like Synchron are farther along in research, having already demonstrated texting and shopping abilities.

Long term, Neuralink aims to help paralyzed individuals operate smartphones or computers using thoughts alone. The technology could also assist people who have lost the ability to speak or see.

But widespread availability is still years away, pending further trials and regulatory approval. For now, the breakthrough provides hope the futuristic-sounding tech could soon positively transform lives.

Musk said the next-generation device will be called “Telepathy”. While the first-gen focuses on enabling paralyzed patients to communicate, future Neuralink aims to seamlessly merge human and artificial intelligence.

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When I'm not reading about tech, I'm writing about it, or thinking about the next weird food combinations to try. I do all these with my headphones plugged in, and a sticky note on my computer with the words: "The galaxy needs saving, Star Lord."
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