HP Reinvents the PC with Sprout and Leaps into 3D Printing

HP is entering the world of three dimensions.

The company introduced Sprout, a virtual and physical desktop environment, along with its first 3D printer called the HP Multi Jet Fusion on Wednesday. Together, HP dubbed the two “Blended Reality.”

HP Multi Jet Fusion is designed to simultaneously print on multiple axes and speed up the 3D printing process by as much as tenfold, according to the company. The PC giant is combining some of its old school printing techniques to improve the 3D printing process; its new, open-platform 3D printer for business will use HP Thermal Inkjet arrays to apply multiple print materials at once, in liquid form.

“As for today’s 3D printing, it’s slow, it’s expensive and it lacks real definition and quality” said Dion Weisler, the executive VP of HP’s printing and personal systems organization.

HP claims its printing process, which can handle color, will improve the strength of the printed item, and that by wasting less materials and using lower-cost parts, it will also reduce the overall economic costs of the 3D printing process.

The Multi Jet Fusion uses a wide-print bar with 30,000 of nozzles to print almost like a traditional printer, but with a layer-by-layer technique: First, a layer of powder, then fusing, then a layer of material, then fusing — until the 3D object is complete. The printer applies 350 million drops per second with a 21 micron precision, according to HP.
“[Our community] tells us they want ‘high quality parts… as fast as possible,” and at “reasonable prices,” said Shapeways CEO Peter Weijmarshausen, who joined HP on stage at the New York City event. “Especially for bigger parts, that’s a challenge.”

“We see the potential to change businesses and economies as we know them today,” added Stephen Nigro, SVP of HP’s inkjet and web solutions.

Of course, that change will come slowly. Partner businesses will use Multi Jet Fusion parts to help HP test and develop the product; a beta program for the printer begins in 2016, and the final version will hit shelves in 2016.

HP described its other new product, Sprout, as the birth of immersive computing.

Sprout, which retails for $1899, is a standalone Windows 8.1-computing system that combines a 20-inch touch-screen, a projector (known as the Sprout Illuminator), touch pad, 3D scanner and projection system. It lets users scan in objects and interact with them using the touch screen and touch pad. The device is based on an Intel Core i7 CPU, boasts 1 TB of storage space and includes a stylus as another input option.

“This is a full-high-end desktop, at the same time it has all the Sprout capabilities that make it unique,” said HP SVP Ron Couglin. Sprout will also launch with productivity apps and software from partners like Crayola and Martha Stewart.

Earlier this month, HP announced that it was splitting itself into two companies, one focused on its personal computer and printing business and another on technology services.
Weisler said HP is still focused on expanding the core PC and printer business (53 trillion pages are still printed each year, according to HP), but these new products focus on the second and third waves of technology to drive new kinds of innovation.

“We believe [Blended Reality] can change the world,” he said.

Sprout will hit shelves at Best Buy and Microsoft stores on Nov. 9, but you can preorder it now on Sprout.com. The HP Multi Jet Fusion is not available until 2016.

Author: Lance Ulanoff
Source: Mashable