Paraplegic in robotic suit delivers first World Cup kick

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.

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.

We did it!!!!

— Miguel Nicolelis (@MiguelNicolelis) June 12, 2014

“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.

Been waiting 3 years to see the Brazilian paraplegic kick a football in a neuroprosthetic exoskeleton and they didn’t even show it on TV

— Bella (@tweet_bells) June 12, 2014

So the media missed the inaugural goal of the paraplegic brazilian….bummer. #WorldCup

— Yomna Maعrouf ✿ (@YMa3rouf) June 12, 2014

No one has even uploaded a real video of the paraplegic first kick from the World Cup. WTF is wrong with everyone.

— The Adequate Gatsby (@TheSammichLine) June 12, 2014