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HP Sprout is a physical-to-virtual PC. Translation: It's a weird new future
It's hard to find the words to describe the funky but creative HP Sprout system, but let's give it a go: it's a desktop computer with a projector that scans physical items, turns them digital in a few seconds and allows you to manipulate the images using your fingers.
Boiled down: It's a blend of what we already know -- the standard computer, letting you check email, surf the web, write documents and so on -- with a touch of the future, particularly in the form of having a "touch mat" instead of a traditional keyboard and the ability to instantly make 3D objects into scans.
The concept is targeted mostly toward artists, designers, architects and publishers. Truth be told, it's one of the most innovative approaches to computing we've seen in a while. In some ways, it feels like a gimmick -- HP's attempt to make a splash in the 3D printing and imaging space -- but in other ways, it feels like the start of something bigger.
First, HP's Sprout system ($1,899) -- which is available for pre-sale now on Sprout.com and will start shipping Nov. 9 -- is a fully functional desktop computer that runs Windows 8.1 software. While Sprout ships with a 20-inch touchscreen monitor, a physical keyboard and a mouse, there's the option for a digital keyboard via its touch mat you can use in its place. It also comes with a stylus, which will likely come in handy when designing.
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