HP just announced its newest all-in-one desktop computer, the Sprout, and it’s unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.
Instead of a keyboard and mouse, the Sprout features a touch mat with a capacitive touch screen.
The most eye-catching feature of the Sprout, however, is the “Sprout Illuminator,” which is attached to the top of the Sprout’s display and extends out and over the touch mat.
The Sprout Illuminator contains multiple devices designed to capture and project things onto the touch mat. Inside the Sprout Illuminator resides a scanner, depth sensor, high-resolution camera, and a projector.
While it all looks a bit wild, the Sprout combines these various technologies to create a fully touch-based system that is supposed to make the creative process easy for the user.
At its heart, the Sprout is designed to blur the lines between real-world objects and those inside the computer, and the entire apparatus makes it easy to capture, scan, import, and manipulate both physical and virtual objects.
Here’s how it works:
Say you were designing a poster and wanted to include something that exists physically, like an origami crane.
By placing it on the touch mat, the Sprout can scan and capture both 2D and 3D objects.
Those objects are then free to be altered and manipulated using either the touchscreen display or the touch mat, which acts as both a second screen and an input device.
For those times when you need to use a keyboard, the Sprout will project a keyboard onto the touch mat, and the Sprout’s 23-inch touchscreen display is designed so you’ll never need a mouse.
HP is also announcing a collection of apps designed to play nicely with the Sprout, but since the Sprout runs Windows 8.1, it will always act like a full-featured PC.
The Sprout’s specs are fairly standard when it comes to desktop PCs. Inside you’ll find an Intel Core i7 processor, 1TB of storage, 8GB of RAM, and an Nvidia GeForce GT 745A graphics card.
Inside the Sprout Illuminator housing you’ll find a DLP projector, a 14.6-megapixel camera, a RealSense 3D camera, and an LCD lamp for illuminating the touch mat.
The HP Sprout is certainly a unique device with some promising potential for artists and designers; it starts at $US1,899.
To get a better sense of what the Sprout is capable of, you can watch the launch video below.