Originally published on January 6, 2014
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A mind-controlled exoskeleton might allow a paralyzed teenager to kick off the World Cup in Brazil in June 2014.
According to Business Insider, this will be a small showcase of the exoskeleton technology developed as part of a project called Walk Again which aims to use technology to overcome paralysis.
"If all goes according to plan, the teenager will walk onto the field, cock back a foot and swing at the soccer ball, using a mechanical exoskeleton controlled by the teen's brain," the Washington Post reported.
The mechanical exoskeleton is able to support a paralyzed person's lower body and responds to wireless commands that come from electrodes placed on the person's scalp or within the brain.
A computer worn as a backpack then converts the commands into movement.
To make the process more natural, the team working on the project is thinking about incorporating more sensors into the suit to monitor touch, temperature and force and deliver feedback to the user through either a visual display or vibrating rotor.
According to reports, the paralyzed teenager that will kick the first ball at the competition will be chosen from a small group which is now training virtual reality with the technology.
The research behind the project is backed by a variety of institutions such as the Duke University Center for Neuroengineering, the Technical University of Munich, and other prestigious universities from the U.S., Germany, Switzerland and Brazil.
The first scheduled match of the World Cup 2014 will take place in Sao Paolo, between Croatia and host country, Brazil, on June 6.