A paraplegic in an exoskeleton body suit operated through mind control has delivered the inaugural kick of the World Cup in an event seen as a medical breakthrough for paraplegic patients.
By
SBS World News

13 Jun 2014 - 6:40 AM  UPDATED 13 Jun 2014 - 3:42 PM

It is estimated more than 65,000 people at Sao Paulo's Corinthians Arena watched the kick during the World Cup opening ceremony, with billions watching the broadcast around the world.

Juliano Pinto, 29, is completely paralysed in his lower body yet performed the symbolic kick-off as part of the opening ceremony.

It was made possible by wearing a robotic exoskeleton operated by brain signals.

Using the suit, Mr Pinto kicked the official ball a short distance on a mat placed near the touchline.

(Getty)

The suit is the result of 30 years work and numeours clinical tests, detailed in more than 200 scientific papers by Brazilian neuroscientist Miguel Nicolelis.

Mr Nicolelis says it is something of a medical miracle.

"It's the first time an exoskeleton has been controlled by brain activity and offered feedback to the patients," he told AFP.

He said he believes the World Cup is the perfect venue for the world to see a technology that can revolutionise movement for three million spinal cord injury patients globally.

'Event not given the attention it deserves'

Meanwhile, television networks have come under fire for failing to broadcast the moment, with social media users criticising the coverage.

Some commentators also blasted the organisers of the ceremony, accusing them of sidelining the moment in favour of other performing acts.