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Sprout by HP blends Windows 8 PC, projector and 3D scanner (pictures)

Part touch PC, part 3D-scanning appliance: what is the Sprout? See for yourself.

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Scott Stein
I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets. My background includes an MFA in theater which I apply to thinking about immersive experiences of the future.
Scott Stein
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1 of 29 Sarah Tew / CNET

This is the Sprout by HP: a $1,899 Windows 8 PC coming to the US November 9. It also has a scanner and projected touch display underneath. Yes, it's funky.

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Taking a tour of Sprout: creative apps are projected in 1,024x768-pixel resolution on a 20-inch Touch Mat.

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A top Illuminator projector shows what you're looking at, while the capacitive mat offers seamless interaction.

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The Sprout Illuminator houses an XGA DLP projector, a 14-megapixel camera, and an Intel RealSense 3D camera with infrared and depth sensors. It also acts as a desk lamp.

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Sprout from the back. It's a standard Windows 8 Core i7 touchscreen PC with 1TB of storage and 8GB of RAM.

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The Touch Mat magnetically docks on the bottom, so you can easily detach it and use a keyboard and mouse instead.

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An Adonit Jot capacitive stylus comes included.

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You can use any capacitive stylus with the Sprout's mat.

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A look at the back ports and power connector.

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The Illuminator projector/camera stands above the center of the Sprout's attached monitor and is a permanent part of the Sprout's design, but it feels like an accessory that could eventually be sold separately for other Windows PCs.

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The Touch Mat's surface, designed in partnership with 3M, can be wiped clean and has a soft, matte feel.

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Standard USB ports on the side, so you can always plug in other PC accessories.

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The mat's thin and unobtrusive. You can detach it, or use it as a fancy desk cover with a keyboard on top when not in use.

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Sketching on the projected display using a stylus and HP's Create app.

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Tapping on a projected piano keyboard: 20-point multitouch feels fast and responsive, although the display projects on your fingers.

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Trying the Piano Time app with Brad Short, the inventor of Sprout.

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Pictures can be scanned from the bottom mat and added into applications automatically, like this sketch.

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Scanning a plastic potato.

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The potato scan ends up in 2D, but with shadowing that can be removed. A separate app does actual 3D scans.

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Collaborating on Sprout with other users, some on other Sprouts, and some on Windows tablets via HP MyRoom, which also runs on Windows and Android phones and, soon, iOS.

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Scanning a 3D frog mask into a collaborative sketch because, well, frog mask.

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3D scanning is possible with the 3D camera, but the software's in beta until early 2015.

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Playing with the 3D scanned shapes, which only capture the part that faces upward on the mat (for now).

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Light patterns are cast on the object to be 3D scanned.

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Next year, HP plans integration with 3D printers and full 3D scanning of objects via the Sprout platform.

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From the back, Sprout by HP looks like many other Windows 8 PCs...but with a large central arm.

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One of a handful of third-party apps: a painting/sticker art app by Crayola.

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Trying virtualized touch controls on the projected lower display via Gestureworks apps. I use it to play Teslagrad, and it works.

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Projected buttons may just be made of light, but the touch response works as well as a touchscreen or touchpad.

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