HP has just announced an oddity of a PC, and it’s actually rather exciting.
Dubbed the Sprout (no, we’re not quite sure why either), this machine initially looks like a pretty ordinary all-in-one desktop. But peer closer and you’ll see it’s far from that.
Mounted above the Sprout’s 23in LCD screen is an array of cameras able to scan physical objects placed in front of it, creating 3D models of them that can subsequently be rotated, resized, edited and otherwise manipulated on the computer. The cameras can also parse printed text from documents and books and capture normal photos and videos.
Then there’s the mat. This is a 20in tactile capacitive touchpad that allows you to interact with on-screen objects and graphics – and it works in conjunction with the screen, which is also touch sensitive.
But the mat isn’t just an input device – it’s also a display of its own, thanks to a projector mounted next to those 3D cameras. The projector beams an image onto the mat with which you can interact. It’s a setup which is likely to strike a chord with creative types (as evidenced by HP’s video testimonials with artists, designers and publishers), but there’s potential there for gaming and other activities too.
The computer, meanwhile, is a powerful Windows 8.1 machine with Intel Core i7 processor, powerful Nvidia GPU, 8GB of RAM and a 1TB flash drive. You can order it now in the US, priced at $1,900 (around R21,000). No word yet on when we’ll see it here.