HP’s New PC Can Project a Touchscreen Onto Your Desk

31 Oct 2014 | Author: | No comments yet »

HP SproutIt’s a PC, and it runs Windows, but it has two displays-one of which is a touch mat that lays flat on your desk, about where you’d place a keyboard. Hewlett-Packard tried to reassert itself as a technology innovator on Wednesday, unveiling two products — a fast 3-D printer for large companies and an interactive desktop computer for consumers.(Relaxnews) – HP wants to blur the lines between digital and physical creativity and believes the answer is the Sprout, a truly novel new computer that lets people get hands on with designs, literally.

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A day after Hewlett-Packard Co (HPQ.N) revealed plans for ground-breaking 3D printing technology, 3D-printing manufacturer Stratasys Ltd (SSYS.O) said it is expecting more competition and pointed to its strong position in a market expected to explode by the end of the decade.Putting some sizzle into the PC business that it’s expected to spin off next year, HP today announced a wild new system that combines a Windows PC, a 3-D scanner, gesture tracking and a giant touchpad. The products are seen as key to the company’s push into what it calls “blended reality,” technology that bridges the gap between three-dimensional reality and two-dimensional images on screens.

An all-in-one PC with an integrated 3D scanner, a projector and a 20-inch touch mat where the keyboard would traditionally sit, the Sprout is meant to represent what HP calls the latest in ‘blended reality’. Hewlett-Packard on Wednesday said it had developed 3D-printing technology that can print 10 times faster at considerably less expense than current products, and that it plans to launch the technology broadly in 2016. HP says that this unprecedented (and, yes, unusual) combo will let users to “take items from the physical world and seamlessly merge them into the digital workspace.” The screen up top is a 23-inch 1920×1080-pixel touch display. At a media event on Thursday in New York, Stratasys executives said the global 3D-printing market is expected to swell from $3 billion last year to $21 billion by 2020, according to industry research. “Even if some very good competitors are going to enter into this market, I think the growth of the market will allow (Stratasys and other companies to grow),” Stratasys Chief Executive Officer David Reis said in an interview on the sidelines of the event. “It’s not going to be limited to one or two companies.” The technology, which promises the ability to customize and improve products through new designs and make them more cheaply by using less materials, is employed by hobbyists as well as large companies such as General Electric Co (GE.N). The base model includes a 23-inch touchscreen, all-in-one desktop with an Intel i7 processor, Windows 8.1, 1 terabyte of storage, a high-end Nvidia graphics card and a four-camera scanning system that takes up to 14.6 megapixel images.

Then the projector will project the digitized image onto the mat and you can manipulate it with your hands. ‘Touch’ it, turn it around, pull it and stretch it — think Iron Man — the computer uses an array of cameras to track your position relative to the object so that everything moves and flows smoothly. HP has given this whole system the auspicious name “Illuminator.” The company says there will be apps built specifically for the Sprout rig that will allow users in multiple locations around the world to work on projects together in real time. Once you’ve finished playing at Tony Stark you can hit print and send it to HP’s first 3D printer — the Multi Jet Fusion. “We live in a 3D world, but today we create in a 2D world on existing devices,” said Ron Coughlin, senior vice president, Consumer PC & Solutions, HP. “Sprout by HP is a big step forward in reimagining the boundaries of how we create and engage with technology to allow users to move seamlessly from thought to expression.” Away from virtual reality manipulation, the Sprout PC is also a traditional desktop.

It runs the latest version of Windows and packs a Core i7 Intel processor, Nvidia graphics and has a 1TB hard disk so should be equally impressive at doing less Iron Man things such as running Photoshop, gaming and video editing. For HP, “this could be their equivalent of the iPad,” said Rob Enderle with advisory services firm Enderle Group. “This is something that could put HP printing back on the map. It could take it away from a legacy, dying division to one that is high growth again.” HP also introduced its $1,899 all-in-one desktop computer, called Sprout, that will hit stores Nov. 9. What sets the Sprout apart is its dual-screen interface, in which users can touch and interact with both the 23-inch display and a 20-point touch-pad. Users can scan 3-D or 2-D items, or drag and drop images stored in the computer by putting fingertips on the display and flicking the image down to the touch-pad.

This could entice more people to upgrade their PCs during the holiday shopping season, particularly for professionals in creative fields who are already spending lots of money on computers like Apple’s $2,499 iMac with 5K retina display. “This is not a mainstream, sell hundreds of millions of units type product,” said Tom Mainelli with research and advisory firm IDC. “It really puts HP’s innovative streak front and center. One of the participating retailers, Best Buy, said it will have interactive Sprout displays at 30 stores in 11 markets, including San Francisco, by Thanksgiving.

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