#USA Roam debuts a robotic exoskeleton for skiers

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Roam, a San Francisco-based robotics startup, has just debuted a lower-body robotic exoskeleton aimed firmly at skiers. The company’s first product doesn’t stray too far from nearby Ekso Bionics, where CEO and founder Tim Swift worked previously — though the simply titled Robotic Ski Exoskeleton trades warehouse work and mobility assistance for the admittedly more exhilarating world of downhill skiing.

The product is essentially a pair of braces that strap on the wearer’s thighs, connecting to ski boots on one side and a small backpack on the other. The braces absorb shock, provide support and generally make you look like some crazy cyborg sent back from the future to punish snow.

A combination of built-in sensors and software adjust the system’s fabric and air actuators, providing additional support to the quadriceps. That all happens automatically, though users can also opt to control the thing manually, as well.

In spite of only announcing this week, the company says its “first releases are already spoken for,” meaning interested parties will have to join a waiting list to get their hands on it. And that’s honestly probably perfectly fine as they’re only available in the U.S. for now, and spring is finally upon us.

When they are more widely available, they’ll run somewhere in the ballpark of $2,000 to $2,500. Pricey, but no one ever said skiing — or being a robot — was going to be an affordable hobby.

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