Hewlett-Packard (HP) is looking to change the desktop experience with its newest all-in-one PC, the Sprout. While costly at $1,900, the machine encourages the use of a PC outside of the traditional input means, using various pieces of imaging technology and sensors to give users a way to create in a "natural user interface." The Sprout is the first product from HP under its Blended Reality ecosystem.
"Until now, the physical and digital worlds have largely been separated and digital creation has remained in 2D," said HP Senior Vice President of Consumer PC and Solutions, Ron Coughlin. "With Sprout by HP, we introduce the first immersive computing platform, seamlessly merging these two worlds together, enabling people to intuitively bring their creations, work, and projects to life in 3D."
The Windows 8.1 powered machine features a dual-screen setup, consisting of a 20-point capacitive touch mat and a 23-inch backlit LED touchscreen in a familiar desktop configuration. Using the Sprout Illuminator attached above the monitor, images are projected onto the mat, allowing users to interact with the projection. The Illuminator also acts as a scanner, capturing 3D objects placed on the mat's surface. Both 2D and 3D objects can then be manipulated on the screen through the mat, which users can also use as a keyboard or input for a stylus.
This is accomplished by the four cameras in the Illuminator, which makes use of Intel's RealSense 3D camera technology and 14.6-megapixel cameras. It also includes a DLP projector for displaying images on the mat, as well as an LED desk lamp. HP Workspace software was developed specifically for the Sprout, allowing the technology to be utilized in a manner that is "seamless, intuitive and engaging."
Projections on the mat change according to the application used. To help users find Sprout-specific applications, HP has opened up a marketplace for the PC. A number of Windows applications are now available, including Crayola's Draw & Sing, GestureWorks Gameplay and DreamWorks Animation Story Producer. HP also has first-party apps that give users the tools to capture and manipulate objects, as well as share them. The SDK for Sprout is available now.
At the core, the Sprout is still an all-in-one PC. The unit is powered an Intel Core i7-4790S with Intel HD Graphics 4600, though graphics are handled by an Nvidia GeForce GT 745A. The Sprout can accept up to 16GB of RAM, though comes with 8GB installed. Storage is a 1TB SSD, but it also comes with an 8GB flash cache and a memory card reader. Connectivity is accomplished though Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac dual-band Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0. Ports include two USB 3.2, two USB 2.0, HDMI, and 3.5mm jacks for line out and microphone/headphone in. For consumers than want to use the Sprout in a traditional manner, it also comes with a wireless keyboard.
Sprout is available for pre-order now, with HP offering it to select retail locations starting November 9.