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A paraplegic in an 'Iron Man' bodysuit will open the World Cup on Thursday

This is way better than J-Lo, let’s be honest.

Brazil's first game is against Croatia on Thursday night.
Brazil's first game is against Croatia on Thursday night.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

THE FIRST KICK at the World Cup opening ceremony will be made by a paraplegic wearing an Iron Man-like robotic bodysuit controlled by signals from the brain.

Brazilian doctor Miguel Nicolelis led a team of 156 scientists from around the world to create the futuristic exoskeleton, which was designed to enable paralysis victims to walk.

At the World Cup opening ceremony Thursday in Sao Paulo, a paraplegic whose identity has been kept secret will leave behind his or her wheelchair to take to the pitch in the suit and give the tournament’s first kick.

Electronic circuits in the device’s “feet” will send a return signal to the user via an artificial skin worn on the arm, conveying the sensation of movement and contact.

“It’s the first time an exoskeleton has been controlled by brain activity and offered feedback to the patients,” Nicolelis, a neuroscientist at Duke University, told AFP.

“Doing a demonstration in a stadium is something very much outside our routine in robotics. It’s never been done before.”

More than 65,000 people will be in Sao Paulo’s Corinthians Arena to watch the BRA-Santos Dumont’s first steps in public before Brazil play Croatia in the opening match. Around a billion are expected to watch on TV.

- © AFP, 2014

Jennifer Lopez has pulled out of the World Cup opening ceremony

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