The creation of the tablet has certainly spawned plenty of unique portable form-factors, but what about the desktop? For that, HP has plans to change things around, and it will be doing it with cameras and projectors.
For its next trick, HP plans to make the PC change, with a move to making the machines many of us use on a day-to-day become something that people who love making art, creating things, or playing music will find more interesting and push their creative skills along efficiently.
Currently, the company is showing off its “Sprout” concept, an all-in-one desktop that comes with your regular keyboard and mouse combination, as well as the screen with all the hardware inside, but comes with a few extra features that no PC has pulled off in the past.
For instance, HP’s Sprout has a little box extending from the back of its 23 inch Full HD display, positioned down above it, almost as if it were wearing some form of sun visor.
This section contains two parts, with a small LED bulb powering a DLP projector, which will shine down a second screen — essentially a second monitor — onto a specialised 20-point 20 inch touch mat co-developed by 3M with a self-healing coating. The combination of the projector and touch mat means you’ll basically have a second display below your fingers, with two sets of screens taking up everywhere you look: ahead and below, allowing you to make the most of the space around you.
And of course, that 23 inch Full HD screen in front of you is touch-enabled as well, so you have touch control ahead of you as well as below, allowing you to draw and write with ease, while also positioning elements on a canvas using either touch interface.
You can use your fingers or even a pen, and HP is providing an Adonis Jot Pro stylus in the package, which will mimic the feeling of using a proper ballpoint pen, and this can even be attached magnetically to the side of the computer when not in use.
But a secondary screen is just the tip of the iceberg for HP’s Sprout, as that top section with the projector in it also has something else, something very unusual that no computer we’ve seen prior has inside: a 3D camera.
Yes, inside the little suspended above the 23 inch display sitting alongside the small projector is a 14.6 megapixel camera capable of taking 2D images like a scanner, with support for Intel’s RealSense 3D technology to grab models of objects in full 3D.
This means you can scan in artwork and magazine covers using the 2D technology, but also capture 3D models of pretty much anything small enough to fit on that 20 inch touch mat, with the scanner able to take simple and quick scans in up to two minutes, with more complicated and more complete models taking at least five minutes to do, with the ability to make these even more complicated through longer 3D scans.
When the scans are made, you’ll find proper 3D models available to you on your computer, with software making it possible to re-texture these, or even print them provided you have a 3D printer, of course.
If you have the skills to pay the bills, as well as a piece of 3D editing software like Blender or Autodesk’s Maya or 3DS Max, you’ll even find you can edit these, with HP telling GadgetGuy that these scanned models are fully editable.