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The first Neuralink brain patient says he used it to play Civilization VI all night

Recently, Noland Arbaugh, the first person to receive the Neuralink N1 brain chip implant in January, launched a live stream event on the company's official X (formerly Twitter). During the live stream, Arbaugh used the device to play a digital version of chess on his laptop, moving the cursor with his thoughts.

As it turns out, Arbaugh had already been playing other games with the Neuralink chip. IGN reports that the 29-year-old had put in an all-nighter gameplay session with Firaxis' turn-based historical strategy game Civilization VI.

Arbaugh, who was paralyzed below the shoulder after a diving accident before he received the Neuralink chip implant, was already a fan of Civilization VI, but after his accident he needed a friend to play the game. He had given up on playing that game before the Neuralink surgery.

That event allowed him to stay up to play the game until 6 am in a recent session He added:

Now I can literally just lie in bed and play to my heart’s content. Honestly the biggest restriction at this point was having to wait for the implant to charge once I had used all of it.

In addition to playing digital chess and Civilization VI, Arbaugh was also able to play Nintendo's Mario Kart 8: Deluxe with his father and a friend via the chip implant. He stated:

Playing Mario Kart and coming in second repeatedly blew my mind, I didn’t think that would be possible like [...] a week in to using it, that was freaking wild. Even though my dad and my buddy wouldn’t let me win.

While the Neuralink N1 chip has definitely changed Arbaugh's life, he added that there are still some issues with using the device. Neuralink first got approval to begin human trials in May 2023, but there remains a lot of controversy over the company's technology and the long-term effects of having the chip inside a person's head.

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