Roam’s Robotic Exoskeleton For Skiers Takes The Stress Off Your Knees
Roam, a San Francisco-based robotics startup, has just debuted a lower-body robotic exoskeleton aimed firmly at skiers. The device will target the 16 million US adults currently engaged in snow sports, inclusive of the millions of adults age 45 and older that will benefit the most from the support provided by this product, especially those with knee or muscle fatigue issues.
The way Roam Robotics’ exoskeleton works is pretty simple. It’s basically a shock absorber that takes over some of the work you’d otherwise be doing with your quads. As you bend your knees, pressurized air is pumped into the nylon actuator, which expands to provide some counterforce between the ski boot that the exoskeleton is attached to on one end and your quad on the other. Your muscles will definitely thank you later.
Sensors allow the exoskeleton to do its thing autonomously, slowly learning how you ski and providing the right amount of help at just the right time. In total, the current system weighs 20 pounds, including both the device itself and the backpack that holds the batteries and pneumatic system—although that could decrease by as much as 50 percent.
How much? Just $2500. So far the company has only built prototypes, but it’s in the process of finalizing a commercial product, set for release in January 2019. Interested skiers can pay $99 to reserve a unit. Roam says that without any training at all, it’ll enable you to ski better for longer without getting nearly as tired.
Spring break is here. It’s time to get your ski on!