Inaugural World Cup Kick in Brazil Will Be by Paralysed Teen Using Robotic Exoskeleton

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By Vittorio Hernandez | May 26, 2014 8:19 AM EST

Despite the many problems related to the opening of the FIFA 2014 World Cup in June, the international sports event nevertheless promises to wow viewers in Brazil and those who will watch on television.

Reuters
France's Anelka fights for the ball against Mexico's Rodriguez during the 2010 World Cup Group A soccer match at Peter Mokaba stadium in Polokwane

Among them is the first kick would be made by a paralysed non-ambulatory Brazilian teenager who would use a motorised exoskeleton and special 3D printed helmet.

The custom trode helmet was created by an international team of designers and engineers from Colorado State University, while the exoskeleton, called the Walk Again from Duke University Center for Neuroengineering, is one of the first public demonstrations of a human controlling a robot using neural signals.

Besides Duke, other institutions involved in the project are the Technical University of Munich, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, the Edmond and Lily Safra International Institute of Neuroscience in Brazil, the University of California Davis, the University of Kentucky and the Regis Kopper of The Duke Immersive Virtual Environment.

The 3D-printed helmet has a soft and squishy foam structure that will keep the electrodes in place while in motion. The Brazilian youth will be trained in a virtual reality environment so he would get used to walking with the new nervous system  (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBl7uTHyXJE).

Meanwhile, among the records to be broken in the 2014 World Cup are the $35 million prize to the football federation that will win, the $4 billion commercial income for FIFA and the $14 billion bill picked up by the host country Brazil.

The World Cup will feature 64 matches, and the 3 million tickets have almost been sold out in the football-crazy South American nation.

However, Brazilians are not too happy having to pick up the bill used for construction of buildings, renovation of 12 stadiums, upgrading of federal, state and city infrastructure and security for 32 teams and 600,000 expected tourists.

Brazilians criticised the spending when the country of 200 million people need more schools, hospitals and less of corruption in the government.

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(Photo: Reuters / )
France's Anelka fights for the ball against Mexico's Rodriguez during the 2010 World Cup Group A soccer match at Peter Mokaba stadium in Polokwane
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