On a quiet street dotted with art galleries in New York City this morning, HP announced that they have developed a new ‘vision’ of the future of content creation and are releasing two new products that bring that vision to life: HP Multi Jet Fusion Technology and the Sprout by HP immersive computer.
While there has been much speculation surrounding HP’s entrance to the 3D printing industry, it was not so much of an if, but rather, a how.
The HP Multi Jet Fusion technology has effectively redefined what is possible for additive manufacturing and the Sprout shows that they are thinking beyond just putting another 3D printer on the market…they want to put a new experience on the market.
It was fitting that they chose a venue in an art-heavy section of Manhattan for their new product announcements. Gone were the boring monochrome tones you would expect to see at a launch event for a computer and peripherals maker. The medium-sized venue featured over a dozen professional artists with wildly different styles splashing color across an army of Sprout machines. The staff on-hand wore rainbow-colored shirts and all of the tables were scattered with so many colorful butterflies that it almost felt like somebody threw confetti everywhere. Oh yeah, and the 3D prints were in full-color. You get the point.
The entire event was focused on those who create. Heck, even Martha Stewart stopped playing with her drone for a few minutes to talk about how she is using the Sprout to take scrapbooking to whole other level. Todd Selby was also on hand to talk about how drawing cats and manipulating his photos is forever changed with the Sprout interface and included tools. Others who work in a more typical working design space talked about how the Sprout has radically changed their approach to app development, graphic design and general idea generation. Peter Weijmarshausen of Shapeways even came out to talk about the Multi Jet Fusion 3D Printer and it was quite clear that he knows this is a game changer for additive manufacturing.
Ultimately, the event wasn’t just about product announcements. It was what Executive Vice President of Printing and Personal Systems, Dion Weisler, kept coming back to repeatedly…a ‘Blended Reality’.
“We are on the cusp of a transformative era in computing and printing,” said Weisler.
“Our ability to deliver Blended Reality technologies will reduce the barriers between the digital and physical worlds, enabling us to express ourselves at the speed of thought – without filters, without limitations. This ecosystem opens up new market categories that can define the future, empowering people to create, interact and inspire like never before.”
While both of these announcements are extremely important to the future of content creation, the Sprout is what will end up in most homes unless your workshop requires an industrial 3D printer.
As the first product available in HP’s Blended Reality ecosystem, the Sprout is–at its core–a touchscreen PC on steroids. The $1,899 machine features a 4th generation Intel i7 Processor and 1TB of storage…slightly similar specs that you would see in a current iMac at around the same price.
What makes the Sprout unique is its seamless integration of multiple devices into one device. The single system features a scanner, depth sensors, a hi res camera and a projector. The vertical and horizontal dual-screen format means that you can have your workspace in front of you while simultaneously interacting with elements on your second monitor. It’s a bit of a brain twister at first, but once you see it in use it starts to make sense…especially when you think of the ‘Blended Reality’ notion that wants to intermix the physical and digital as seamless as possible.
“Making your ideas real is now so easy. No complicated processes or technology. Just you, Sprout and your imagination. Roll up your sleeves and create something. Instantly.”
- Dual-screen Experience: An intuitive and flexible form factor with an integrated vertical touch screen and horizontal capacitive touch mat, designed with creative expression and human movement in mind.
- The Sprout Illuminator: A capture and projection system that combines multiple devices – a scanner, depth sensor, hi res camera, projector – into a single system to capture and project dimensional images like never before, allowing users to take items from the physical world and seamlessly merge them into the digital workspace.
- Real-Time Remote Collaboration: Advances how users work, learn, collaborate and share by allowing them to seamlessly interact with and manipulate content remotely in real-time whether across the room or milesaway via HP MyRoom.
- Immersive Applications: A growing suite of applications uniquely designed and optimized for Sprout by HP and available through the Sprout Marketplace.
It will be interesting to see who will be the early adopters of the new system. At $1899 USD, the Sprout is priced at such a point that it’s not too outrageous…yet it’s still slightly out of reach for those who aren’t fully-committed to accepting this new interface yet. The same could have been said about Wacom’s radical interface redesign when it first hit the market…but just look at them now.
Regardless, alongside their foray into 3D printing, it’s safe to say that HP is about to have a profound impact on those who create.