Shred like a cyborg with this endurance-boosting exoskeleton for skiers

Whether it’s the workplace, war zones, or the home, exoskeletons are being used in a wide variety of settings and applications here in 2018. The latest? A new prototype exoskeleton, created by Roam Robotics, that’s designed to help wearers on ski slopes. Resembling a pair of leg braces with a connected backpack, the wearable device works by effortlessly replicating wearers’ movements. It does this using built-in, air-filled bladders to absorb the shock of impacts, and thereby protect skiers’ knees.

“Think of them as lightweight shock absorbers for your legs,” Roam Robotics CEO Tim Swift told Digital Trends. “There is a lightweight brace on each leg, which is connected to the corresponding boot. Both legs are powered by a lightweight backpack worn by the skier. As a skier needs support — during turns, stops, or whatever — the product provides that support.”

Swift said that he realized early on that exoskeletons were the way of the future. However, he also realized that it’s important to reduce their size and cost to make them the mainstream product they can be. As a result, he’s worked to replace the metal and motors of conventional systems with fabric and air, as can be seen with this creation.

So when can you get your hands (or, more accurately, feet) on this wearable device? “It will be rolled out in two main phases,” Swift continued. “For this coming season, a limited number of our ski product will be available at ski resorts in Utah and Northern California. They’ll be available through rentals with a small number of pilot devices available for purchase. We then hope to offer general availability to one and all for the 2019-2020 ski season.”

If you’re interested, you can pay $99 to reserve a unit, with the final price likely to fall in the $2,000-$2,500 range.

“We feel it will appeal to a wide variety of skiers,” Swift said. “In our initial testing, it’s helped skiers across a wide spectrum. If someone is already a strong skier, it helps them ski even longer with less exertion; if someone is an intermediate or beginning skier, it provides the support they need to ski longer and with better form.”

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