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Tour of California art
An image of cyclists created using Microsoft Kinect sensors during the Tour of California. (Microsoft Image)

The art of cycling took on a whole new meaning during last month’s Amgen Tour of California, thanks to a partnership between Microsoft and Volvox Labs which used Kinect technology to create motion-activated images of riders participating in the race.

Called “The Ride by Microsoft,” the contemporary endeavor is a “one-of-a-kind art installation” that relied on a custom-built rigs using Kinect gaming technology to capture the 3D motion of passing cyclists. The result is a unique art form that produces futuristic-looking renderings of the athletes and the surrounding terrain. The ultimate goal was to provide fans of the sport with a new artistic perspective of the race and offer high-resolution printed posters as well as desktop and mobile wallpapers to save and share.

The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant worked with Volvox in the months leading up to the May 11-20 race. Here’s the tech used on the project:

  • Microsoft Kinect technology to capture movement in digital form.
  • Eight Kinect V2 sensors capturing 3D data of the physical world.
  • Laser-scanning technology, which captures landscapes and California landmarks.

Fans were able to see the action, captured by The Ride, from several locations around California, including Sacramento, San Jose, Pismo Beach, Santa Barbara, Mt. Baldy, Big Bear Lake, and Pasadena.

Tour of California art
(Microsoft Image)
Tour of California art
(Microsoft Image)
Tour of California art
(Microsoft Image)
Tour of California art
(Microsoft Image)

Behind-the-scenes videos also reveal the process of setting up the tech and creating the artwork:

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