Yamaha Motors Invests in Wearable Robotic Exoskeletons for Skiers

Roam exoskeletons

Roam Robotics, a San Francisco-based company that builds exoskeletons to enhance strength, speed and endurance for everyday people, closed a $12 million Series A funding round. Yamaha Motors led the round along with investors Boost VC, Heuristics Capital Partners, Menlo Ventures, and others.

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“Roam exists to change the boundaries of human mobility,” said Roam Founder and Chief Executive Officer 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.”

The company’s first product, ELEVATE is a robotic exoskeleton specifically designed for skiers. The device comprises two braces that are strapped to the user’s thighs and connected to their ski or snowboard boots.

Roam exoskeletons

The design doesn’t use heavy metal that’s associated with robotics but it uses heavy-duty fabric actuators shaped to support the movements involved in skiing and act similarly to smart shock absorbers, reports Forbes.

In total, ELEVATE weighs only a few pounds and takes strain off legs, allowing skiers to stay out longer and push their runs further to the edge. ELEVATE will be available for demonstration rentals in the Lake Tahoe area in time for Christmas and later in Park City, Utah.

“We are helping people push their personal boundaries while skiing or snowboarding,” explained Roam chief business officer Nikhil Dhongade in an earlier release. “This is true for people that have knee issues or muscle fatigue, or for anyone that simply wants to improve endurance and augment the experience.”

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Rental charge will be around $100 to $110 per daily. The company plans to expand rental service to more resorts next winter, but it has no plans for retail sales as of yet. According to the company, the battery pack should last all day.