Friday, 11 September 2015 16:24

HP ‘sprouts’ innovation

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HP Australia launched the Sprout – an innovative, 3D digital workspace computer that gives access to amazing design features for everyone from novice to professional.

Sprout (US site is out of date) is a clever integrated mix of a 23” touch screen, Windows 10 computer; Intel’s 3D, RealSense camera that has 3D scanning and measurement capabilities; a 20 point touch mat developed in conjunction with 3M; a DLP, LED projector (to display screen images on the mat); and HP’s own Sprout software and free software development kit.

“We live in a 3D world yet compute largely in 2D. It is part of HP's Blended Reality ecosystem and vision for the future of computing designed to break down the barriers between the digital and physical worlds,” said Paul Gracey, Director  systems, Printing & Personal Systems, HP South Pacific.

There is far too much to write about this innovation so I will cover the basics. If you are interested, HP’s release is on page two.

The Illuminator - 3D capture/measurement

 The 14MP Intel RealSense camera scans at 220-dpi in 2D and 3D using depth-sensing and infrared cameras to determine 3D data.

The optional circular capture stage is a USB powered and controlled rotating and tilting platform that allows capture of physical objects – up to approx. 200mm to be rendered as full 3D images. You can also manually do 3D and 2D scans from the mat.

The software will then allow for addition or removal of textures and colours. Once you ‘grab’ the image it becomes a digital asset that can be used, resized, modified and combined with other digital assets in a multi-level mash up.

The software will also accurately measure the object, its volume etc.

The Mat

The 2mm thick, 20 point, Touch Mat magnetically docks on to the base – it’s a simple USB style device – and controls the special Sprout features.

The PC

The PC is Windows all-in-one design with a 23” HD 1080P screen; an Intel Broadwell Core i7 processor; NVIDIA GeForce GT 745 2GB GPU; 8GB upgradeable RAM; and 1TB SDD. It also comes with a wireless keyboard, mouse and Adonit Jot Pro Stylus. It has HDMI out; Gigabit Ethernet; 2 x USB 2.0 and 2 x USB 3.0 ports; full size SD slot; and audio out. It has an integrated web cam and microphone.

The software and App store

HP’s Sprout software is the key to this. It looks incredibly easy to use and will only get better. There is a limited but growing range of apps like Crayola kids colouring book and Martha Stewart Craft Studio.

Uses

Nixi Killick, fashion designer noted for techno induced, colourful street wear demonstrated how it could be used to design fabrics, clothing and accessories as well as layouts for a stage and catwalk. “I can collaborate with the producer in Berlin – he does not need a Sprout (but if he did have one he could use HP’s MyRoom to share my digital workspace),” she said.

Ben Frost is a ‘mash up artist’ and creates bold and sometimes controversial designs. He uses Sprout to create and curate a collection of digital assets as PNG (portable network graphics). He used Sprout to mash up a magazine cover and add 3D scans (of his tattoos).

The demonstrations were the tip of the iceberg for this technology. This has huge implications for architecture, prototyping, the retail space, anywhere digital assets could be used – think about dragging and dropping Ikea kitchen modules into your scanned kitchen space.

Its not precise like Adobe’s creative suite – it is for QND (Quick and Not so Dirty) creativity where you want ultimate flexibility – then export it as a PNG, JPEG or PDF or to almost any Windows compatible 3D printer.

Price and availability

The price is A$3,999 and it is exclusively available retail from 5 October via selected Harvey Norman stores where experts from HP and the store will be on hand to demonstrate and ‘white glove’ deliver, set up and provide initial training. The 3D capture stage is $599.

Opinion

I was very impressed at HP’s initiative to combine new innovative technology – each with its own raft of patents – and overlay 70+ HP patents to make this a very simple way for consumers to harness 3D in every aspect of their computing.

I get the feeling that this hardware technology combination is capable of so many uses not yet conceived and the software/firmware will continually evolve. This is the start of the Sprout ecosystem and it will lead to a raft of new models as new uses are identified.

Price wise it ihe tip of the iceberg for this technology. to mash up a magazine cover and add 3D scans (of his tatoos.ith this device would nos not cheap enough for mass adoption so initially it will sell in the hundreds of units – not thousands – and as with all things tech will eventually come down in price. To say HP is five years ahead of the curve with this device would not be an understatement.

Overseas reviews – where it has been in the market for since late last year – are all positive except for the price. It i saw today./t Australia has waited until this has evolved to the level of sophsitication s clear that Australia has benefited by waiting until this has evolved to the level of sophistication I saw today.

HP's official press release follows on page 2


News Release

A New Immersive Computing Experience Hits Australian Shores

Sprout by HP makes creation simple, fast and intuitive

 

SYDNEY, Australia, 11 September 2015 — HP today unveiled Sprout by HP, the world's first immersive computer, to deliver breakthrough 3D scanning capability to the Australian market.

As the first fully integrated desktop 3D scanning solution, it provides users a simple, quick and affordable way to create 3D content. This solution consists of Sprout with its Real Sense 3D cameras, the proprietary HP 3D Capture Stage and unique 3D capture software. Several new applications for Sprout will also be available to enhance the user experience and expand the 3D Ecosystem for creative professionals and aspiring creatives.

"Sprout is the first release of HP’s Blended Reality strategy and is the first step on our mission to deliver truly immersive experiences," said Paul Gracey, director personal systems, Printing & Personal Systems, HP South Pacific. "The innovative and unique 3D Capture solution allows users to easily capture an object in 3D that can then be further modified, shared, and printed."

HP Blended Reality Ecosystem 
Sprout by HP is a first-of-its-kind Immersive Computing platform that redefines the user experience and creates a foundation for future immersive technologies. Part of HP's Blended Reality ecosystem and vision for the future of computing, Sprout by HP is designed to break down the barriers between the digital and physical worlds.

Scanning Accessory and Software 
The 3D Capture Stage accessory is a turntable that serves as a platform for the objects being scanned. It automatically tilts 15-degrees while turning, to ensure all aspects of the object are captured.

With just a few button taps, the new 3D Capture application works with Sprout's technology to create a full 3D digital model that can be manipulated. 3D Capture is being introduced as a free upgrade to the current 3D Snapshot software, which captures one side of the object. 

The next automated update of the Sprout software will include a free version of the 3D scanning application that takes full advantage of the Sprout hardware. Until now, the physical and digital worlds have largely been separated and digital creation has remained in 2D; this new scanning application allows capture of objects in full 3D. 


Sharing
Sprout users can share 3D objects with a feature that lets others view and manipulate them in an online 3D viewer where they can rotate or resize an object to see multiple perspectives. With online sharing users can share via email, post to Facebook or other social sites. 

New applications bring art to life
As a new technology, Sprout expands the limits of creative possibilities and opens doors for consumer and creative professionals who want to create something completely new. When available, the new applications will be offered through the Sprout Marketplace.

Crayola Color Alive goes beyond the Crayola Color Magic Experience to also allow kids to apply animated effects through special colours such as Fire-Breath™ and Ice-Blast™. Kids can also save their characters and bring them out to play in 4D anytime. The app already includes 18 free Action Colouring Pages, though requires the purchase of a Crayola colouring-in book (with crayons) to function.

Origami Apprentice guides learners through the process of folding origami models. Projected instructions on the Sprout's unique mat take the user step by step through the folds while the upper screen provides animated and verbal instructions. Users can create a variety of origami.

Mobile5 SizeUp demonstrates the power of Sprout by allowing users to measure objects in real-time using Sprout's downward facing camera. The measurements are projected on the mat overlaying the real object and shown on the vertical screen. With the ability to change from metric to imperial systems and different unit measures, the app is expected to be ideal for crafters, makers, professionals and educators worldwide.

Mischief for Sprout is a creative sketching tool ideal for drawing, doodling, whiteboarding, or producing creative artwork or designs. The app integrates with the overhead cameras for quick capture and import of 2D objects. It also provides an unobstructed full screen preview of the canvas on the vertical screen. Mischief features an "Infinite Canvas" with pin-able views that adds a new level of brainstorming, drawing details or storytelling.

Sprout Stop Motion allows any user to easily create stop motion videos. Stop Motion captures real objects as digital assets by using the two Sprout cameras, then users mix them up with screen captures and edit using intuitive yet powerful features like frame duplication, image cloak and delays. Users can also record sound from a microphone or import an audio file to enrich the video production.

Sprout Light Stencil enables users to trace, etch or stencil on physical objects using an image or design of their own creation. First, the app projects the image to the horizontal mat, then the user can apply effects, rotation and scale to the projected image. Finally, the user traces, etches, or stencils the projected image onto their preferred material, for example: wooden blocks, t-shirts, leather or cake. 

Sprout Video Capture provides a seamless and efficient workflow for recording video content from multiple cameras on Sprout and the live screen content at the same time. Then the user can trim and create multi-shot videos that can share instructions, projects, presentations or special moments. It enables Sprout users to create their own video content, making it the ideal platform for makers and instructional video production.

HP is experiencing strong response from developers in both the consumer and professional areas. Sprout Emulator and Sprout JavaScript Framework make it easier for developers to create Sprout applications.

Sprout emulator enables developers to test applications on a non-Sprout Windows PC. It simulates the Sprout Workspace that allows developers to test Sprout specific APIs such as Capture, dual screen etc.

Sprout JavaScript framework allows developers to develop applications for Sprout using HTML and JavaScript. This helps developers to use their existing web application source code and assets to create Sprout applications more quickly.

The Sprout Software Development Kit is available at www.sprout.hp.com/developer.

Sprout Marketplace 
The potential of Sprout by HP's unique configuration is fully realised through the Sprout Marketplace, an application marketplace that contains a growing suite of applications that are optimised to take advantage of Immersive Computing platform to enhance how users work, play and engage with entertainment.

The Sprout Marketplace currently contains a suite of Windows-based applications designed uniquely for the dual-screen environment including the Martha Stewart CraftStudio, DreamWorks Animation Story Producer, Crayola's Draw & Sing, GestureWorks Gameplay and first party experiences from HP including Create, Collaborate and Capture, enabling users to easily capture physical objects, manipulate them in a digital environment, and collaborate and share their creations in new ways.

New applications, including a range of creative applications for professionals, families, gamers and beyond, will continue to be added to the marketplace regularly. The Sprout Software Development Kit is available at www.sprout.hp.com/developer.

 

For more information about Sprout by HP, visit www.hp.com.au/sprout. For additional information and press assets, visit www.magicbulletmedia.com/MNR/HPBlendedReality.

Price and Availability
Harvey Norman is HP Australia’s exclusive retailer which will be selling Sprout within 17 stores nationally. “Sprout is a unique, game-changing product which will revolutionise the way people can create and design” said Katie Page managing director, Harvey Norman. “We are excited to offer this technology to our customers and are confident it will be popular across various fields.”

Sprout by HP can be purchased at one of 17 Harvey Norman stores nationally, and at www.hp.com from 5 October, 2015 for an estimated starting price of $3,999 (inc.GST). This includes onsite warranty for one year and a white-glove set up service. The scanning software upgrade is free and will be part of the automated system software update. The 3D Capture Stage accessory will be available from early October for $599 (inc.GST) also available at Harvey Norman and www.hp.com

About HP

HP creates new possibilities for technology to have a meaningful impact on people, businesses, governments and society. With the broadest technology portfolio spanning printing, personal systems, software, services and IT infrastructure, HP delivers solutions for customers’ most complex challenges in every region of the world. More information about HP is available at http://www.hp.com.au.

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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