The Desktop Lives On


The HP Sprout combines a PC, 3D scanner, projector, and keyless keyboard – provides solid proof that the Desktop lives on.–PC Pitstop.

The Desktop Lives On

By Bob Rankin

The HP Sprout combines a PC, 3D scanner, projector, and keyless keyboard. Is it the wave of the future or a freak of nature? Read on to see what the Sprout can do and whether it’s worth its impressive price…
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Post-PC Era? HP Says No!
In response to the increasing popularity of tablets and smartphones, many pundits have declared that we’ve entered the “Post-PC Era.” It’s as if we’re all supposed to toss our desktop computers in the recycle bin and squeeze our digital lives onto a 4, 7 or 10-inch screen. I’ve never believed that the Day of the Desktop is over, and apparently HP doesn’t think so, either.

The HP Sprout is a space-saving all-in-one desktop computing system, with everything that usually fills a bulky chassis neatly hidden in the flat-screen monitor and its stand. It has a modern touchscreen, but it also has a futuristic keyless, flexible Touch Mat surface that accepts touch input and displays virtual objects, including keys.

The silvery “shower head” that overhangs the monitor is the bendable part of the Illuminator Column which runs up the monitor’s back. The column houses a projector, scanner, and several cameras that detect infrared as well as visible light, capturing images in 3D with Intel’s RealSense technology which debuts in the Sprout.

The Illuminator (which I am sorely tempted to call The Spout) projects images down onto the flexible Touch Mat. There you go: now the images you’re supposed to touch are where your fingers can reach them easily, without stretching your arms over a temporarily useless keyboard to reach a vertical screen! The Touch Mat has a magnetic docking connector that eliminates cables and the vagaries of wireless links.

You now have two screens; one for input and the other for output. Using fingers or a stylus, you can draw on the Touch Mat comfortably while watching the results on the vertical screen. HP includes several apps that take advantage of this tech for things like scrapbooking, photo editing, and graphic design.

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Excerpt shared with permission from Bob Rankin.

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