The Sprout comprises four main elements: an all-in-one Windows 8.1 PC with a 23-inch 1080p touchscreen; a rear-mounted Sprout Illuminator scanning/DLP projection system; a capacitive 20-point Touch Mat that displays a 20-inch Illuminator-projected touchscreen; and an HP Workspace platform that integrates with Windows 8.1 and enables dual-screen collaborative content creation, editing and consumption.
The Sprout has been available in the US since November 2014 at $1,899.99. It can now be preordered in the UK from HP's online store and certain retail locations, and will be on sale in select Dixons and John Lewis stores from 26 February. The cost for UK buyers: £1,899 (inc. VAT, or £1,582.50 ex. VAT).
3D scanning, courtesy of an Intel RealSense 3D Camera in the Illuminator, is one of the Sprout's neatest tricks -- although the 3D capture software is still in beta and only successfully scans the upward-facing part of an object placed on the Touch Mat.
HP is promising better 3D scanning support later this year. Once the scan is captured, it can be manipulated in various ways, including adding different textures and colours to the scanned object. Generally the Touch Mat and projected screen is where you capture, edit and manipulate content in the HP Workspace, and the AIO PC's screen is where you view it within applications. Objects are transferred between the screens with very natural-feeling sweeps.
As well as the RealSense 3D Camera and DLP projector, the Illuminator has a 14.6-megapixel camera and an LED desk lamp.
If you want, you can display the Windows 8 Start screen and virtual keyboard on the Touch Mat and your current application on the PC's screen. The Touch Mat is tough, wipe-clean and scratch-resistant, and impressively responsive. It's also easily removed (it connects magnetically) if you really need to attach a conventional keyboard and/or mouse. The Sprout has four USB ports (2 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0, one powered), plus Ethernet (RJ-45), HDMI-out and an SD card slot.
Other specs: the CPU is Intel's Core i7-4790S running at 3.2-4GHz, backed by 8GB of DDR3-1600 RAM and 1TB of SSD/HDD hybrid storage (8GB of flash cache); the GPU is Nvidia's GeForce GT 745A with 2GB of dedicated DDR3 video RAM; wireless connectivity is 802.11a/b/g/n wi-fi and Bluetooth 4.0.
The Sprout comes with an Adonit Jot Pro stylus, which attaches magnetically to the upper right side of the PC unit when not in use.
A new platform inevitably brings an SDK and a new 'ecosystem': among the third-party applications currently in the Sprout Marketplace is Atomix's Virtual DJ, which does what it looks like it does. Other third-party apps include Crayola DJ, Crayola Draw & Sing, Fuse for Families, Dreamworks Animation Story Producer and GestureWorks Gameplay.
HP's own applications are Create, Collaboration and Capture. Here, a sample of tiling is scanned, the existing floor pattern removed from an image, and a new pattern created from the scan inserted. This kind of work can be done collaboratively, with remote Sprout users able to share the projected 20-point touchscreen and manipulate objects.