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Photos: A snapshot of what HP's got up its sleeve

Printing hotpots, virtual reality and a FaceBubble…
By Tim Ferguson, Contributor on
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1 of 8 Tim Ferguson/ZDNET

Printing hotpots, virtual reality and a FaceBubble…

HP Labs focuses on research and development of new technology that can potentially join the HP product portfolio or be licensed to other businesses.

silicon.com went to the HP Labs facility in Bristol to check out what the researchers have been up to.

This is Snapfish Labs, which shows off new applications developed for the HP-owned Snapfish online photo service.

This particular application allows people to select photos in their collection and create a picture collage. The tech organises the pictures in a variety of ways then allows you to print out the finished poster.

Photo credit: Tim Ferguson

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This shows some posters created by the application. Other applications on Snapfish Labs include an auto-cropping facility which uses algorithms to provide a selection of different crop options after working out what looks best in terms of what to focus on and what to cut out.

You can also create photo albums which can be ordered in physical form.

Snapfish users can try out these applications and give their feedback on the site. HP Labs can then work out which services to offer more widely.

Photo credit: Tim Ferguson

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This is the FaceBubble app which is aimed at making it easier for you to explore your digital photo collection.

This bubble analyses images to show who features most in a photo collection with the biggest bubble representing the person that features most often.

You can then navigate to all pictures using the touchscreen tech on this HP Touchsmart PC.

Photo credit: Tim Ferguson

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This RFID handset works with the mscapes (short for mediascapes) application which reacts to the environment around you. You register the device with your character - in this case a pirate - and it responds as you (or your character) enters virtual areas which have been set onto the physical world.

Photo credit: Tim Ferguson

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This shows how the mscapes environment can be set up with a map of the HP Labs campus on the top left of the screen showing the virtual areas that have been mapped onto it.

The image at the bottom shows a handheld device which maps virtual images onto the physical environment. In this case, a ghostly figure has been added to a streetscape.

Photo credit: Tim Ferguson

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This shows a concept called cloud printing in which you can wirelessly request print tasks using your laptop or mobile phone. One way of doing this is using a print hotspot.

The mobile phone screen shows print jobs which have been requested via the phone that have been received and successfully completed.

Photo credit: Tim Ferguson

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This is a cutting-edge security project set up to combat the threat of quantum computers.

A quantum computer uses quantum mechanical processes to perform operations - meaning they can break standard computer security code. Although the threat is still theoretical, HP Labs has looked at how to combat it.

This shows two computers representing an ATM (left) and a mobile device. Using photons, the mobile device requests security codes that are then transmitted back to the phone. Researchers say due to the way the codes are transmitted, quantum computers would not be able to break them.

Photo credit: Tim Ferguson

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This shows the tech in more detail with the device on the right (Alice) acting as the mobile phone which transmits and receives a single photon beam to and from the bigger device (Bob) which represents the ATM.

Photo credit: Tim Ferguson

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