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Photo via American Express.
Tennis star Maria Sharapova helps create the “You vs. Sharapova” virtual reality experience. Photos via American Express.

Those attending next month’s U.S. Open in New York will have a chance to play tennis with Maria Sharapova … kind of.

American Express, which is sponsoring professional tennis’ fourth annual major, is hosting a neat experience that lets fans strap on a HTC Vive and “play” against a virtual version of Sharapova.

“For the fans that don’t have a chance to play against me, this will be pretty close to real life,” Sharapova said in this video.


American Express used a bevy of technologies to create the experience, including motion capture, full-body scanning, and CGI to create a replica of Sharapova’s image. The company also used Valve’s Lighthouse tracking system that enables the HTC Vive headset and accompanying handheld controller to track a user’s movements in real-time.

Sharapova stood in this 3D full body "light-stage scan" dome to help create a virtual version of herself. Photo via American Express.
Sharapova stood in this 3D full body “light-stage scan” dome to help create a virtual version of herself.



Check out the video below to see how Sharapova and American Express worked together on this high-tech project:

We’ll have more coverage on the U.S. Open, including a look at how IBM plans to integrate its own technology at this year’s tournament, later on GeekWire.

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