A new product in robotics could help all skiers improve their performance. Prototype of ROAM SKI mounted on a skier. (Image via ROAMrobotics)
Every time there is a new movie, especially about a superhero, it is common to see a crowd at movie theaters. We all love the idea of a superhero, we want to see them be real. Some of us strive to make that happen.
One of the most iconic of super hero movie is certainly Iron Man, a man who wears a robotic suit – and probably the most achievable superhero concept out there. ROAM Robotics is inching towards making just that.
At the last Winter Olympics, the world witnessed how robotics could coexist with athletics in the same arena and work together for a common goal. The Olympics were one of many areas, robots are proving more and more useful. The medical arena is probably the biggest beneficiary of the expansion of robotics. All that is changing with ROAM, a company which aims at facilitating and supporting mobility for those who need it. The company started on its journey with the invention of the ROAM SKI, the external skeleton that will make life easier for skiers.
With a goal to help all ski enthusiasts enjoy a longer run down the slopes while relieving the stress on their legs, ROAM built a pair of frames to support the legs with a special care for the knees, accompanied by a backpack which is the brain of the whole system. The ROAM SKI studies how the skier moves, then imitate those movements to alleviate the increasing strain the legs experience with every turn during the activity. Since snowboarding is similar to skiing, ROAM’s team of engineers believe the skeleton can be used for that sport as well.
Just like the Iron Man suit, the skeleton-suit absorbs data from the movements of the skier and use it to calculate how much support the bearer of the suit needs. In addition, ROAM has designed an application available on Android and iOS, that lets the skier set the level of support he feels will be required. Through the app, users can also track the routes they used and their speed while skiing. Ultimately, the ROAM exoskeleton is protecting the skier from possible injury and leg fatigue which makes it appropriate for aging skiers and those who desire to stretch their ski time.
Although ROAM has a few good reviews from those who tested the skeleton, the company confessed that the ROAM SKI is a work in progress and the final version of the product will be available early 2019. Once on the market, the suit could be selling at $2,000 or more; but to pre-order it, users need to pay a completely refundable deposit of $99.
Now, many will agree that the price is pretty steep. Yet, it might work out since skiing is already an expensive sport and the suit could be the cheapest existing exoskeleton. Furthermore, in ROAM’s vision, the suit will be available both for purchase or rental. Either way, ROAM SKI will need to be both affordable and easy to use to hook the attention of skiers or snowboarders.
Have a story tip? Message me at: cabe(at)element14(dot)com