Late last year, HP launched Sprout, a new kind of desktop computer geared towards media professionals and engineers. Sprout uses an Intel RealSense camera to scan objects placed on a touch mat in front of the display — users can then manipulate what they just scanned using touch controls on the mat. What HP didn’t quite have nailed down was full 3D scanning — Sprout could only take 2D pictures of a 3D object. That changes with an upcoming software update and a new accessory.
HP wants to allow users to fully scan 3D objects faithfully enough that they can be worked meaningfully in CAD programs. To accomplish that, HP is releasing the 3D Capture Stage and application, which work together to create true 3D scans. The Capture Stage is a turntable that has been tuned specifically to work with Sprout. After connecting the Capture Stage to Sprout over a USB 3.0 connection, you can place an object on the turntable and hold it in place with included rubberized magnets. The stage will automatically tilt 15 degrees to give the RealSense camera a better look at the object. The turntable will do a complete rotation in eight steps, after which you can turn the object on its side or flip it to give the camera a different look. After that, the Capture application will take all that imaging data and fuse it into one digital 3D object that can be saved, exported, and used in CAD programs.
In a conference call about the new software and Capture Stage, HP reps suggested that this would be ideal for engineers who might create a physical model that they’d like to work on in a CAD program. It won’t just be limited to engineers, though — there was also talk of an upcoming stop-motion app for claymation animators.
HP didn’t divulge sales numbers for the Sprout, but we figure if they’re going through the trouble of making new accessories, it must have a faithful following in some parts. For those brave early adopters of HP’s experiment, you’ll be able to get your hands on these new toys in July. The 3D Capture Stage will be $300, while the 3D Capture application will be a free update to Sprout’s existing 3D Snapshot software.