In a nearly four-minute video, Pager can be seen playing ‘MindPong’ without using a joystick.
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On Thursday, Elon Musk’s neurotechnology company Neuralink released a video showing a monkey playing video games with its mind.
The nearly four-minute video, which has since been viewed over a million times on YouTube, shows Pager, a 9-year-old macaque monkey with a Neuralink placed on each side of his brain, playing “MindPong” on a computer screen in exchange for a “tasty banana smoothie delivered through a straw.”
Related: Neuralink, a company owned by Elon Musk, implants a chip in a monkey so that it uses a video game with its mind
Pager is initially seen using a joystick to move a cursor to targets on the screen. As he’s playing, researchers are also shown live-streaming the thousands of neurons that are being fired from the monkey’s brain — a step taken to mathematically model the relationship between the patterns of neural activity and the different joystick movements Pager makes.
A few minutes later, scientists unplug the joystick, but Pager still controls the game (albeit without his knowledge).
According to Neuralink, scientists implanted the chips in Pager’s brain about six weeks ago. Musk believes that the same tech could be used to “enable someone with paralysis to use a smartphone with their mind faster than someone using their thumbs.”
In 2020, the company performed a similar test of the technology on a pig named Gertrude.