HP is debuting another high-priced experiment at CES 2015. This past October, we got a look at the HP Sprout, an all-in-one computer rigged up with an Intel RealSense camera, allowing it to scan physical objects so you can interact with them on-screen. But, you could only work in 2D with the Sprout—you’ll be working in 3D with the HP Zvr Virtual Reality Display.
Virtual reality is a bit of a misnomer—you’re not getting a pair of goggles that throw you into a virtual world like you’d get with Samsung Gear VR or the Oculus Rift. Instead, the 23.6″ display creates a hologram—like an amplified form of 3D display technology, in effect. Using the 3D glasses provided, you’ll be able to see 3D models projected from the 1080p stereoscopic screen. Those 3D models will have to come from programs designed for this purpose—it’s an experiment, and if you’re buying in, you’re basically agreeing to help HP pilot test the technology, which sounds like it could be pretty fun.
It wouldn’t be very interesting if you could just see the models in 3D, though—3D displays already came and went. Fortunately, there’s a little more to it. Using an included stylus, you can rotate, pan, and zoom with your 3D models. That’s pretty cool if you want to check out a new house plan, but it’ll be even more useful for people who make 3D models for a living. Not only can they manipulate their own 3D models, they can also project those 3D images to a larger 2D screen to present those models to colleagues, although that feature won’t be available until spring of next year.
Even though it’s not exactly virtual reality, some VR tech has found its way into the Zvr. On the 3D glasses, there are five tracking markers picked up by four IR cameras on the display, which allows for head tracking. This gives you the same kind of parallax effect that Apple debuted on iOS 7, except now it’s actually useful.
While you will need the right software to work with the Zvr, you might be OK with the MCAD programs you have. HP is also touting extensive ISV support, although we don’t know just how extensive yet. As for ports, the Zvr has three USB 2.0 ports, one DVI-D port, and one DisplayPort with HDCP support.
The Zvr is just a display, though, and since we’re dealing with 3D models, you’ll probably want some pretty decent hardware connected to it. HP would love for you to use one of HP’s new Workstations or business desktops, but you know, whatever you’re working with.
So, how much is it? Well, if you’re interested, HP says you have to ask them once the Zvr becomes available next spring. You know know what they say about that situation.