A paralyzed teen will kick the first ball at the World Cup using an exoskeleton

The 2014 FIFA World Cup kicks off next month in Brazil. Countless fans will make the journey to watch their favorite teams play at the venues while millions of people around the world will tune into the action. The opening ceremony will likely be worth watching but this time around people will also get to witness a demonstration of an exoskeleton being controlled by a human through neural signals. A paralyzed, non-ambulatory Brazilian teenager is expected to stand up and kick the first ball at the 2014 World Cup provided that everything goes according to plan. 

The 2014 World Cup begins next month in Brazil and will feature something truly amazing: the plan is for a paralyzed, non-ambulatory Brazilian teenager to stand up and kick the first ball of the first game using a motorized exoskeleton and special 3D-printed helmet. Created by an international team of designers and engineers, the video shows Colorado State University’s design for the custom trode helmet that will keep the leads in place and protect the kicker’s head. First announced in January, the exoskeleton is finally coming together and should be ready for the kick-off. Called the Walk Again Project at Duke University, the kick will be one of the first massively public demonstrations of a human controlling a robot with neural signals. “The Walk Again Project is a nonprofit, international collaboration among the Duke University Center for Neuroengineering, the Technical University of Munich, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, the Edmond and Lily Safra International Institute of Neuroscience of Natal in Brazil, The University of California, Davis, The University of Kentucky, and Regis Kopper of The Duke immersive Virtual Environment.”

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