Hewlett-Packard next week will reportedly unveil a new computing interface called Sprout and utilize a 3D scanner, a large touch surface and the ability to move things around with a hand.
Sound familiar? You bet. It almost sounds like Microsoft's original Surface or a few other projects highlighted by Microsoft Research. The key for HP is to show it can deliver something commercially that applies to the enterprise and prosumers now instead of years later.
The overhead device projects images downward onto the work surface, which users can manipulate with their hands or with a stylus. They can resize pictures, move elements around and change colors. They can also easily add new elements to the image by scanning objects or other images directly on the work surface. This is where the overhead 3-D scanner comes into play. Adding an image of any object is as easy as placing it on the work surface where it can be scanned and then included in whatever the user is working on.
As for the enterprise angle, HP's computing system could blend into a number of verticals such as retail or education.
For HP, highlighting new interfaces for its PC unit is critical now that the company is going. HP is driven by the enterprise and it's no surprise that CEO Meg Whitman and CFO Cathy Lesjak both went with the corporate side. The needle to thread with the PC/printing side of HP will be to show it can innovate, focus and eventually be a player in 3D printing.
HP sent out the following invite to the press earlier this week.