HP Sprouts a New Product and Lots of Excitement for Hackers

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To split or not to split? That was the question that was on everyone’s lips when discussing HP in the recent past. Well I just took a look at the HP Sprout and the quote that springs to mind is from Michael Corleone in The Godfather:

Using Intel’s RealSense technology (finally, a productive use for this), a combination scanner, projector and touch sensitive projection surface comes to market.

The Touch Mat is a specialized surface that is a combination of capacitive touch with a precise projection screen, which has great visibility from all angles because it diffuses light in a nice uniform fashion. The projected image can serve as an alternative/second screen that is projected onto the touchpad with multi point tracking (20 is what HP says). It’s also wireless, to boot!

I won’t dive into what is inside the ‘illuminator column,’ as HP calls it, but would rather discuss the potential uses for the Sprout. This could potentially be a hackers mecca. Imagine including a sensor that can measure radiation from objects and surroundings to help in your design process; it’s possible to include infrared sensors on the Touch Mat itself, which can scan 3d objects and create a digital model in the blink of an eye.

So what’s the big a-ha moment with all of this new tech? From our perspective, the new world order is all about customization and this could be a dream tool in that regards. Imagine personalizing your Adidas shoes on this platform – scan your existing shoe, see what it will look like with a different lace, sole, reflective layer etc. You could also scan an object you have at your home to include on your Hallmark greeting card. There’s also an interesting potential in the healthcare field. What if you could take scans of our teeth and create exploded layers to more easily detect cavities and other issues, and allow for a more interactive experience for patients as a doctor explains the issue. This has a wide range of third party uses for brands and consumers; it’s just a matter of applying it correctly.

At this point, HP itself seems unsure of who the target audience is for the Sprout. In my mind, there is no one space where this device can perfectly fit, although there are many potential applications across industries that could be very exciting. This could be a fantastic tool to help brands and their consumers connect in a unique and effective way, build more brand loyalty and improve the equity of their brands. I am not sure if it will click with the mass consumer with its hefty price tag and confused positioning, but for me and other hackers alike – I just want to open this bad boy!

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