Tech giant HP just took the lid off its future plans for computing and 3D printing, which center on a Blended Reality ecosystem. HP aims to break down the barriers between the digital and physical worlds with two new technologies.
On one hand, HP Multi Jet Fusion works to resolve what the company sees as “critical gaps” in the combination of speed, quality and cost, and deliver on the promise of advanced 3D printing. On the other hand, Sprout by HP is an “immersive computing platform” that hopes to create a foundation for future immersive technologies.
"We are on the cusp of a transformative era in computing and printing," said Dion Weisler, Executive Vice President of Printing & Personal Systems at HP. He expects the ecosystem to open up new market categories that help shape the future of printing. Only time will tell if that’s too ambitious, but HP does have a strong showing in the printer market.
A Printing Win?
Let’s take a closer look. With HP Multi Jet Fusion, the company is making a bold move to advance 3D printing by leveraging its past experience in the print market and advanced materials science. The goal is to overcome fundamental limitations in the current generation of 3D printing systems while also delivering greater productivity for fewer dollars.
"As we examined the existing 3D print market, we saw a great deal of potential but also saw major gaps in the combination of speed, quality and cost," said Stephen Nigro, Senior Vice President of Inkjet and Graphic Solutions at HP. HP Multi Jet Fusion hopes to fill the gap, and would drive solid profits for the company if it did.
Essentially, the new products are built on HP Thermal Inkjet technology and feature a “unique synchronous architecture.” HP said this approach improves the commercial viability of 3D printing and brings the potential to change the way we think about manufacturing. Again, a bold claim but if the numbers pan out it’s a winner.
For example, HP said Multi Jet Fusion offers 10 times faster imaging than today’s current technology. The company’s proprietary multi-agent printing process taps into HP Thermal Inkjet arrays that apply multiple liquid agents to produce quality, accuracy, resiliency and uniform part strength in all three axis directions at the same time.
Sprouting New Technology
On the Sprout front, HP is combining advanced desktop computer power, including a scanner, depth sensor, high-resolution camera and projector, with a user interface to offer what it said is a new computing experience. What’s new about it? Ron Coughlin, senior vice president, Consumer PC & Solutions at HP, offers a glimpse.
"We live in a 3D world, but today we create in a 2D world on existing devices," said Coughlin. "People have always created with their hands. Concurrently, technology has progressed from the first transistors, through calculators to today's most sophisticated computing platforms. Until now, the physical and digital worlds have largely been separated and digital creation has remained in 2D.”
Sprout changes that with hardware and the Sprout Marketplace, which provides a suite of Windows-based applications designed for the dual-screen environment that Sprout offers, including the Martha Stewart CraftStudio, DreamWorks Animation Story Producer, Crayola's Draw & Sing, GestureWorks Gameplay and first party experiences from HP including Create, Collaborate and Capture. The technology is available now for pre-order and hits retail locations on November 9. Pricing details have not yet been announced.