HP has taken a risk and unveiled a completely new type of product, called the HP Sprout.
The HP Sprout takes an all-in-one desktop PC using Intel's RealSense technology and adds a scanner/projector combination.
"We are on the cusp of a transformative era in computing and printing," said Dion Weisler, executive vice president, Printing and Personal Systems at HP. "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."
The computer is built around HP's TouchSmart all-in-one and comes with an Intel Core i7-4790S processor, 8 GB of RAM and a 1-TB hybrid drive. On the front, the computer has two USB 3.0 ports and an SD card slot. On the back, users will find an Ethernet port, an HDMI output and two USB 2.0 ports.
The feature that sets the Sprout apart, however, is the projector and 3D scanner combination. All of the projector and scanner technology is found in a column that runs up the back of the computer and is called the Illuminator Column. Inside the column is the aforementioned scanner and projector, as well as a number of cameras that capture things like infrared, images, depth and so on.
The projector shines images down onto the Touch Mat, combines a capacitive touch surface with the projector that is designed to diffuse light in a way that keeps light uniform across the touch surface. The Touch Mat is also a second display and connects via a magnetic docking connector. Not only that, but the Touch Mat is also used as a scanning bed, where users can place items and documents to be scanned.
While the computer will not be produced as widely as other PCs, HP has said if it turns out to be a success and there is a market for it, then it will be produced on a much larger scale.
"It's about getting people excited again," said Eric Monsef, the head of the project at HP, who added the hope is that developers will think of ways to use the new technology. "Day of launch, we're not even at the halfway point of our work."
While this does mark HP's entry into 3D scanning, the company will not release any 3D printing products until 2016.
"We've been working for a number of years already. We have patents going back more than 10 years," said project chief Ramon Pastor. "We didn't want to introduce a product that wasn't a breakthrough."
The Sprout Software Development Kit is available now and Sprout for HP can be purchased starting Nov. 9.