A new robotic ski device, the Roam Elevate Ski XO, is designed to enhance your ski performance by reducing joint pressure and boosting quad strength
By Lauren Glendenning
Brought to you by Roam Robotics
Every year, more and more products hit the winter sports retail market that promise to make us more comfortable, warmer, drier, happier — and almost always for longer periods of time than ever before.
It's rare that a product talks about enhancing our own human capabilities, though, but that's exactly what the Roam Elevate Ski XO promises. This robotic exoskeleton device is designed to boost quad strength to give you more control while reducing muscle fatigue and knee joint pressure.
Early product testers report feeling major improvements in knee pressure. One woman reported feeling like she was in her 20s again, while another said she felt like she was floating on the snow.
We sat down with Johnnie Kern, Roam Robotics' Director of Product Marketing, to find out exactly how this robotic ski device can safely and comfortably help keep skiers on the hill for longer.
How does the Elevate ski device work?
Our Elevate ski device contains embedded sensors and smart software that anticipates your intent and automatically adjusts at your knee via air bladders, so it is effectively mimicking and strengthening your quad muscles.
What was your inspiration for creating/designing this product?
Our founder Tim Swift is a well-respected expert in the exoskeleton field and got tired of heavy and expensive solutions that could never be realized for the masses. He set out to create lightweight and commercially viable products that would enable everyday mobility — and skiing is the first place that we'll do that.
Please describe how Elevate is "smart" and doesn't get in the way while skiing.
The device is fully adjustable and always follows your body's lead, so you are always in control. The goal is to augment the experience. Elevate does not ski for you, but it can keep you on the slopes longer if your legs and knees aren't happy.
What should potential users know about Elevate’s wearable equipment?
Elevate is comprised of two main components totaling in at about 15 pounds. The backpack serves as the brains of the unit, containing a motherboard (computer), an air compressor and a battery. Each of the two separate knee devices — about 2.5 pounds each — attaches to your leg and uses the ski boot as the foundation for supporting the additional weight. The idea is that when the device is powered up, you'll hardly notice that you're wearing anything extra.
How long does it take to set it up to use?
Our amazing group of ski hosts can get someone fitted in about 15 to 20 minutes. It's obviously a little more involved than some other ski equipment, but the fit needs to be slightly customized to optimize the bio-mechanics.
Who could benefit from using Elevate?
Everyone has their own personal physical barriers, but we are getting great responses from both aging passionate skiers with weakening quads or beat up knees, and also from newer skiers who haven't yet developed strong skiing muscles. In short, if your ski day is getting cut short because of physical limitations, then come give it a try!
What would you tell skiing purists who might look at this product skeptically?
Elevate might not be for everyone, but I think most skiers would agree that if it keeps someone out on the hill skiing longer — or extends the number of years that someone could ski — that's pretty cool! The other day, we met a little guy and his dad who were asking some questions about our device. After hearing some of what we had to say, the son looked up at his dad and said something like, "Dad, does this mean that Grandpa can go skiing with us again?"
Who could really argue with that?
Why do you think this product is such an exciting addition for the industry?
Baby boomers, which represent a large demographic of passionate skiers, are slowly getting to the point where their experiences are cut short by quad exhaustion or knee discomfort. We want to keep people on the hill, doing what they love. It's not just another boot or a new ski — this is a product that could literally change some people's lives.
What else would you like potential users to know about Elevate?
We love feedback and we'd love for anyone who's interested to come give it a try!