I’ve got an ax to grind with HP. They killed a perfectly good mobile OS and relegated it to TV-system control operations. Yes, HP killed Palms WebOS and for that I cannot forgive them. It’s altogether surprising that they would be the one to create something new and interesting to me. Behold the Sprout.
Sprout is a unique machine that combines an all-in-one Windows 8 PC with a set of 3D scanning cameras, a giant tactile touch pad and a downward-facing projector (for displaying graphics on said touch pad). The design is built around a concept HP is calling “blended reality” that blends the 3D physical world with our 2D digital one. The obvious target audience is creative types. Rather than using mice and keyboards, Sprout focuses on touch and pen input. The 23-inch LCD serves as the main display, but it’s the bottom display, the 20-inch capacitive pad (yep, you read that right) positioned under the camera and projector that serves as the primary point of interaction.
the ability to flick images from a library on the main screen down to the touch mat for manipulation. More impressive though, was when it combined all the various features into one task. The rep on stage placed a physical object on the mat. The cameras then took an amazingly quick 3D scan of it, removed the background and placed the model in a slide where it could be resized or rotated.
The cameras can take regular photos, 3D scans or even parse text from a printed page. So you could scan a sheet of text then insert graphics around it or manipulate the font to build a beautiful flyer or magazine layout. Regardless of what you do with it though, the idea is to get you using your hands and stepping away from the mouse. Beyond just pinching, tapping and dragging photos, you could put the controls for a video editor on the mat and monitor your final product on the screen. Have a look at the video on Engadget and let me know what you think!