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HP Sprout 3D system now integrates 3D capture and printing

Tue 11 Aug 2015

Hewlett-Packard’s Sprout 3D-printing computer system, unveiled in October of last year, now integrates 3D capture and 3D printing, opening up interesting new possibilities for the consumer. As VentureBeat’s Dean Takahashi puts it, “The Sprout computer moves us a step closer toward enabling a ‘creator economy’, or a world dominated by people who create things rather than just purely consume them. It does so by making it easier to break down the barrier between the digital and physical worlds.”

Eric Monsef, Vice President of HP’s Immersive Experience Computing Group, talked about the idea of “blended reality”, meaning a world where the user can work with both 2D and 3D.

Monsef said, “In 2D, it’s so easy to capture and do something with a photo…When is that happening with 3D? This is the promise of the PC. Blended reality is the answer. It will enable creativity for everybody in both 2D and 3D. With Sprout, we put it all in one box.”

Whereas Sprout originally could only scan in about half of an object, using an app called 3D Snapshot, July’s update, 3D Capture, can scan all 360 degrees in six stages – an entire object. After combining the various stages, the software allows any remnant flaws to be manually fixed, after which the mesh can be generated on a 3D printer.

The dedicated Sprout computer runs Windows 8.1 on an Intel Core i7 Processor, and has a terabyte of storage. The all-important graphical processing facility of the set-up relies on the NVIDIA CUDA (Compute Unified Device Architecture) parallel computing platform, a general purpose processing GPU – or GPGPU – which is leveraged towards C++, C and Fortran developers for whose purposes Direct3D and OpenGL would be obstructive.

Monsef added, “A lot of other experiences today are not hands-on enough… [Whereas] You just roll up your sleeves and get on Sprout. You don’t need a thousand hours of training. You just grab, mash, make. It has a flat learning curve where you just get in.”

Sprout architect Brad Short reports that the technology took over four and half years to develop: “The ambitious goal here is redefining how you interact with a computer. People think in 3D. The world is in 3D. Computers really need to work in 3D. That’s the future of where we think the interface is going,”

HP is intent on reducing the time spent on 3D scanning and printing, in an initiative to get these processes as near to real-time as possible.

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