Robotic exoskeleton to give ambitious skiers a bionic boost this winter
For the first time, this winter you’ll be able to rent a robotic exoskeleton designed to boost your experience on the slopes.
Essential reading: Hit the slopes with this connected tech
Called Elevate, the device consists of two braces that are strapped to the user’s thighs and connected to their ski or snowboard boots. Its aim is to boost strength in quadricep muscles, giving skiers more control, stronger turns and longer runs while reducing muscle fatigue and joint pressure.
Think of it as instant strength and stability in your legs, without the need to spend months working out in the gym. The device was created to push the potential of what is possible for every-day skiers, those looking to extend the experience from their younger years, and those with knee or muscle fatigue issues.
Elevate comes from Roam Robotics, a San Francisco-based company that builds exoskeletons. The outfit raised some $12 million Series A funding recently to make the product a reality.
“Historically, exoskeletons have been large, bulky, and expensive,” said Tim Swift, CEO and Founder of Roam Robotics.
“By creating a product essentially out of fabric and air, we can disrupt the relationship between weight and power, creating a lightweight device that can provide significant support to a wide spectrum of skiers.”
Elevate has two main parts, the braces and a small backpack that carries the power source and controls. Coming in at just 2.5 pounds each, the braces use heavy-duty fabric actuators shaped to support movements in real-time as you are going down the mountain. They essentially function like intelligent shock absorbers, taking the load off your legs.
“Roam exists to change the boundaries of human mobility,” added Tim Swift.
“That boundary is different for every person, but they exist for everyone. Whether you are an Olympian, an everyday athlete, or looking to regain lost mobility, we want to power you beyond what your body currently makes possible.”
Elevate is aimed at the 16 million Americans who participate in snow sports. A limited number of devices is available for the 2018/2019 ski season, with a wider launch planned for the following year. The gizmo is available for demonstration rentals at Lake Tahoe now, followed by Park City, Utah, later in January. Rental charge is around $100 to $110 per day.
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