Recently, SpaceX and Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, claimed he has put a Neuralink implant in a monkey's brain. He also added that now the animal can play video games "with his mind".
According to the CEO, the monkey is "totally happy". This experiment is part of his "brain tech" start-up firm, called Neuralink, that Musk initiated with the hopes one day be able to help humans with a brain or spinal injury.
Musk also claimed that the implant builds a digital link between the brain and a computer. The entrepreneur described it as "like a fitbit for the skull".
Musk has invested a total of $100 million in Neuralink. He claimed the start-up has a "monkey facility", where one monkey has a "wireless implant" in its skull. "We've already got a monkey with a wireless implant in its skull, who can play video games using his mind. He's totally happy. He does not look like an unhappy monkey. He's not uncomfortable and he doesn't look weird.
"We're trying to work out if we can get the monkeys to play mind pong with each other, you know that would be pretty cool."
Musk also added that a US Department of Agriculture official was mightily impressed when he inspected their monkey facilities.
"When the USDA person came through and inspected our monkey facilities, she said it was like the nicest monkey facilities she's ever seen in her career. We went the extra mile for the monkeys."
This is, however, not Musk's first animal used in his scientific experiments. Neuralink had successfully implanted a computer chip in the brain of a pig called Gertrude.
In the short-term, Neuralink would be able to address brain injuries and spinal injuries.
"It would make up for whatever lost capacity somebody has, with an implanted chip. That would enable someone who [has a brain injury or spinal injury] to control a computer or mouse or phone or really any device just by thinking.
"And this would, of course, be a massive enabler and make life easier for them. There have been primitive versions of the device with wires sticking out of your head, but it doesn't work all the time and you can't take it home with you. In simple terms, its sort of like a Fitbit in your skull with tiny wires that go to your brain."
Musk also confirmed that his team have already tested the implantation, removal and re-implantation of the brain chip. He added that "We are really focused on the ability to remove the implant if somebody doesn't want it or it's not working. We can take it out and we can re-implant another one."
However, early applications for the chip would be for people who have a serious injury but admitted that, while the value of the implant is "enormous", there is a serious risk involved.