Duke Professor Miguel Nicolelis‘s brain controlled exoskeleton technology may enable a paraplegic teen to kick off the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The plan is for the teenager to walk onto the field, cock back a foot, and swing at a soccer ball, using a mechanical exoskeleton controlled by his/her brain.
Motorized metal braces tested on monkeys will support and bend the kicker’s legs. The braces will be stabilized by gyroscopes and powered by a battery carried by the kicker in a backpack. Sensors will relay a feeling of pressure when each foot touches the ground. Months of training on a virtual-reality simulator will have prepared the teenager to do this using a device that translates thoughts into actions.