Neuralink’s First User Is ‘Constantly Multitasking’ With His Brain Implant

Neuralink’s First User Is ‘Constantly Multitasking’ With His Brain Implant

My first instinct was to just start playing around, moving my fingers, to see if I could notice any big spikes. Every time I moved my index finger, there was a big yellow spike, and I did it three or four times. I was just lying there thinking, “That’s so cool.” I moved my finger and it jumped, and everyone in the room was just geeking out.

Once they started putting me in the app and letting me do things like calibration and body mapping and I got cursor control for the first time, it was very intuitive. It wasn’t hard at all, and I think it’s only going to improve from here.

By body mapping, you mean that you would think about moving your hand or your finger in a certain way and Neuralink would correlate that with a certain neural signal?

Yeah, so in the body mapping, there were visualizations of a hand moving on a screen. There were different actions that they had me perform, like push your hand forward, pull your hand back, and so I did that for a while. We would do the action during body mapping, and they said that same action will be how you control the cursor. We did finger presses, like pushing down with each of my fingers 10 times. Then they would say, “OK, this finger got the best signal, and so that’s the one we’re going to use for the click.” So every time I went to click, I used that finger. It was very intuitive.

You’re not actually moving your finger then, just thinking about it?

Exactly. Even though I can’t move it, I can still try to move it, and it feels like it should be moving. The signal is still happening in my brain.

What does it feel like to be using the device? Do you have to concentrate really hard?

No, it’s very easy. I’m constantly multitasking when I’m in sessions or when I’m playing around. I’ll throw on an audiobook or throw something on my TV and then play a game at the same time. It takes very little brain power. What I’m thinking the whole time is just where I want the cursor to go.

What devices are you able to use the Neuralink app on?

It’s just on a Macbook right now, but they’re planning on moving it onto other devices. It will move to a phone pretty soon, and we’ll continue going from there.

Neuralink put out a blog post recently about your first 100 days with the device, and it mentioned that some of the implant’s threads, which are dotted with electrodes that read your neural activity, pulled out of your brain. Did you notice a difference in functionality when that happened?

I could tell right away that something was wrong. I just started losing control of the cursor. That was about three weeks in, I would say. I thought it was something on their end, like they had changed something in the software that made it perform worse.

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