Hewlett-Packard on Thursday rolled out what could be a key accessory and application to its Sprout PC, which is designed to connect virtual with 3D printed worlds.
The company launched Sprout late last year with the aim of making 3D printing easier. In a nutshell, Sprout is an all-in-one PC with a digital projector on the top of the monitor that projects down onto a mat. This mat serves as a touch-enabled second screen with a digital pen.
For designers and engineers, Sprout can take a 2D image and turn it into a real world object. HP's software---dubbed Workspace---has tools to serve as a digital camera.
The catch is that the scanning process was too manual. Now HP is adding a turntable that it calls a 3D Capture Stage, hardware that automates the scanning process, cuts steps and tilts to maximize the scan quality. The Capture Stage will run $299 and is optional. Sprout goes for $1,899.
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In addition, HP is releasing a new 3D Capture app that takes depth and color to make it easier to share and print.
The app, a free software update, and turntable will be available in July. Capture Stage is connected via USB 3.0.
Eric Monsef, vice president of HP's immersive systems group, which is a collection of technologies and technology from various parts of the company, said the additions are a combination of Intel's RealSense and HP tools.
With the move HP is hoping to create an accessory that will make it easier for anyone to become a maker and utilize design libraries, engineering prototypes and simple objects to create products.
It's unclear how many units of Sprout HP has sold. The company doesn't disclose individual product sales, but the big picture is fairly obvious. In 2016, HP will enter the commercial 3D printing market. And rest assured, HP will get into the consumer 3D printing market at some point. Sprout will work with other 3D printers, but what HP is really hoping for is to create a stack just like it does for inkjets and its PCs today.
HP said it is working with Dremel to create a scan to print experience with the Dremel 3D Idea Builder printer. HP also said it will use print service providers to provide a way to order 3D prints via mail.