October 31, 2014
HP is planning to release a 3D printer in 2016 that the company claims will perform up to 10 times faster than today’s 3D printers. Primarily targeting large industrial companies, the printer is expected to be more affordable than models currently on the market. HP also announced a new all-in-one computer system called Sprout, with a 3D scanner as its most innovative feature. Sprout, available November 9 starting at $1,899, is a design-oriented system that includes a projector, camera, and touchscreen.
“In short, it’s a workspace that attempts to blend the digital and physical worlds, and it was built specifically for people doing creative things,” reports Engadget. “That includes advertisers and designers and other professionals, but HP’s also hoping that a certain kind of consumer will appreciate this.”
“The technology of the scanner is probably the most novel part of that package, as the other parts have all been around awhile,” notes The New York Times. “That’s not bad, if it’s well packaged — remember, Apple’s iPod, the product that led to so many other successes, was really just a better-designed MP3 music player.”
Sprout makes it simple for users to manipulate things with their fingers and add real-life elements. Some introductory software applications are available in the “Apperating System,” which HP hopes will help build a community of outside developers.
According to Stephen Nigro, a senior vice president in HP’s inkjet printing business, the 3D printer slated for 2016 “would be able to print 1,000 gears, each two inches across, in three hours,” reports NYT. “The best commercial printer out there now, he said, would need 85 hours.”
For the 3D printing industry, “this is like 1982 for personal computers, things are just getting started,” said Carl Bass, chief executive of Autodesk. “I’m good with all the stuff that moves the field forward.”