Although HP officially announced their ‘Blended Reality’ Ecosystem and Sprout immersive computer in late October of 2014, it’s taken a full eight months for the company to follow up with what is likely to be the most important feature of all: a 3D scanner peripheral that enables users to fully-scan 3D objects.
The “all-in-one” computer, which already features an overhead scanner and projector, was designed to help bridge the increasing divide between making ‘analog’ art with your hands and digital art onscreen.
When it launched last year, the Sprout was only capable of scanning objects from a single side with its built-in overhead scanner, which is ideal for graphic designers and other 2D artists but not so much for those who regularly work in 3D.
Yesterday, HP announced that they will be launching a free software update that will finally allow users to utilize the scanner for full 3D scanning functionality. Additionally, a $299 turntable peripheral, the 3D Capture Stage, can be purchased that will allow users to automate their scanning process and record all sides of their 3D object.
“With just a few button taps, the new 3D Capture application works with Sprout’s technology to create a full 3D digital model that can be manipulated,” said the company. “The next automated update of the Sprout software will include a free version of the 3D scanning application that takes full advantage of the Sprout hardware. Until now, the physical and digital worlds have largely been separated and digital creation has remained in 2D; this new scanning application allows capture of objects in full 3D.”
Of course, the $299 add-on peripheral only works if you’ve already purchased the $1900 computer – meaning that the total cost of the ecosystem comes up to a hefty $2200. For just over two Gs, one could seemingly create their own full-fledged 3D modeling ecosystem from scratch based on whichever tools they use the most; but we’re talking about prosumers here – not professional product designers and engineers.
While we’re still yet to see just how much of an impact HP’s ‘Blended Reality’ can have on the design process, the ability to easily scan 3D objects into their immersive computing experience is certainly a step in the right direction for the average person who wants to get started working with 3D models; we’re still yet to see what the company has in store for where their Multi Jet Fusion Technology 3D printing fits into their Blended Reality ecosystem, too.