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In February, Search Engine Journal began covering Google’s development of “augmented reality” glasses. The glasses, which will enable users to simultaneously view the actual physical environment around them along with related computer generated inputs, are currently being tested at the Google X Lab. Although many people doubted the accuracy of the initial rumor, Google has now confirmed via a Google+ post that they are working to develop this exciting new technology.
The post, which includes a video demonstration of how the augmented reality glasses could alter everyday life, requests that Google users provide the development team with feedback related to desired features:
“A group of us from Google[x] started Project Glass to build this kind of technology, one that helps you explore and share your world, putting you back in the moment. We’re sharing this information now because we want to start a conversation and learn from your valuable input. So we took a few design photos to show what this technology could look like and created a video to demonstrate what it might enable you to do.”
Google’s video, which demonstrates the potential capabilities of the glasses, shows that a user wearing the glasses will be able to easily interact with their surroundings. As the user looks around, the glasses pull up relevant information and provide the data to the individual on the HUD. For example, a quick glance outdoors provides information related to the weather or walking into a subway station produces information related to a route delay along with alternate transportation options. In addition, the video depicts the user interacting with a Siri-like voice application that is seamlessly integrated with Google Maps and other Google products.
Since the glasses will require a reliable Internet connection that is capable of processing large amounts of data in a timely manner, they will most likely be connected wirelessly to the user’s phone (i.e. Bluetooth connection). In addition to the phone providing an Internet connection, it may be possible to shift the majority of the processing requirements to the phone as well.
The secretive Google X Lab is based in the California bay area and is currently working on approximately 100 cutting-edge projects. The glasses are expected to debut by the end of the year and will most likely cost between $250 and $600.
[Sources Include: Project Glass, Tech News World, & The Register]
You're reading Google Glass Project: Augmented Reality Coming Soon!
While this progress has been happening in the world of Analytics, there is a parallel, related and interesting development happening in the world of Image Processing. This is the usage of Cameras to build AR (Augmented Reality) applications. Better Telecom Bandwidths, Powerful Mobile cameras, AR techniques have made it possible now to View, Point, Detect and Transmit an Identified object’s coordinates and other information to the Backend Systems for further processing. There is also another technology called the Image Analytics, which can leverage the image captured by the AR application to do the relevant Image Analytics and pass it back to the AR application. This article attempts to bring a Convergence of the above three Technologies Viz.: Visualization Technologies (backed by Huge Historical Databases or Big Data), Image Analytics and AR Technologies, to bring out the Next Generation Class of Analytics called as “Ground-Zero” Analytics. Ground-Zero Analytics is basically trying to see the Descriptive, Predictive and Prescriptive Analytics, in Real-time at the Location where it is Happening, using Mobile Cameras, AR Technologies and Visualization Technologies.Data and Big Data
Data has been around in computer systems for more than a few decades in the form of Files, Databases – either in Structured or Un-Structured forms. However, it is only recently that the data management has encompassed Huge Volumes, Variety and Velocity of data, to deliver faster processing to the downstream Reporting and Visualization applications. The data is stored in files, Databases, Data Lakes, Data Warehouses, Subject oriented Data Marts, Analytical Databases – all with the single goal of providing valuable information to the downstream Reporting and Visualization applications – through which Business can view their data in multiple dimensions across time, place, products, people.Data Visualizations
Data Visualization is the most Intuitive approach to depicting the Processed data to the Business Users. This uses various visualization techniques like Graphs, Plots, Tables and many more to show various sets of related data, in a single view to the Business User, so he or she can make an informed decision about their business scenarios. The current Data Visualizations tools and technologies talk about a Business Unit or Business area in the form of Data or Visuals and it is up to the Business User to have the domain knowledge of their Business or a photographic memory of their Business area, or branch or office or Warehouse or Stores.Augmented Reality of the Domain in which we do Data Visualizations
Augmented Reality is the concept of the user seeing the reality upon which embedded information is also shown. This is not difficult to imagine. While watching a News Channel, we see the actual video footage (say of the Cricket Field) and on top of it we see Data being shown (maybe of the flight path of the ball). This is the simplest form of Augmented reality. However, the AR (Augmented reality) in the context of Data Visualizations can get a bit more complex and much more Dynamic in nature. While the camera shows the Image of a particular domain, the domain itself is marked with specific points (either in a Marker or Markerless mode), such that when a particular Point in the Domain is in View of the Camera, the AR system can detect the Specific Point and then become aware of what that Specific Point is. Example: When the camera is pointed toward a Refinery pipeline, the specific point on the pipeline can tell the AR system that this is a “Crude Oil” carrying pipeline toward the Main Refinery. It will also know based on the GPS coordinates of the “Crude Oil” carrying pipeline. With this basic information about the “Crude Oil” carrying pipeline, like the Actual Image from the Camera, its GPS coordinates, and the Marker Inputs, being passed onto the AR system, there is now scope for Mashing this AR information with its related Analytics information, to derive newer forms of Analytics. This is the core concept of this article and is called “Ground-Zero-Analytics”Introducing the concept of the AR-based-Ground-Zero Analytics
AR-based “Ground-Zero” analytics is the concept of using the AR-based information like Image, GPS coordinates, Marker information as inputs to a Backend Data Visualization Engine in realtime. The Backend Visualization Engine would then pull the relevant information about the “Marker” in context, build the necessary Charts, Graphs, Historical Summaries and then show in real-time these, Analytical Insights on the “Image” being looked at by the camera, with Zero Latency. So, in our example, while the Camera is looking at the “Crude Oil” pipeline, at the same time the AR system would pass on information like the Image, GPS coordinates, Marker Inputs to the Data Visualization systems and Image processing systems. The Data Visualization systems would pull out the “Crude Oil” pipeline-related information, from the databases, like Date of Installation, last Service or Inspection Date, Expected Lifetime of the Pipeline, Any History of Leakages, Breakages, Fire, etc for this “Crude Oil” pipeline. The Data Visualization system would then do the specified analysis and then build the necessary Dashboard, Graphs, Charts, or Additional Textual information – and then show it on the Screen as an Overlay on the Image being shown in the Camera – all in realtime. In addition to the Data Visualizations, the AR systems will also pass the image of the “Crude Oil” pipeline to an Image Processing engine, to detecting any Faults, Cracks, etc. This would then be passed to the Analytical Systems and finally recommend “Preventive Maintenance” instructions on the Screen, again all in realtime.
Hence by converging AR technologies with Image Processing/Recognition and Data Visualizations, we can take the Analytics from a Backroom activity to “Ground-Zero” where the Report or Dashboard is being spoken or analyzed about, in realtime. This is the concept of the “AR-based Ground-Zero” analytics.Technical Approach
Shown below is a high-level Technical Approach to implementing an AR-based “Ground-Zero” analytics:
The AR system would expose their AR data to an AR Receiver which would then curate this data and then pass it to the Consuming Systems like Data Management, Visualization and Image Processing Applications. These Consuming applications would then pass on their relevant Analytical insights to the Visualization Outputs, Text Outputs, Image Processing Outputs and Analytics Output Modules (as shown in the above diagram). These Analytical Outputs would then be passed onto the AR Transmitter Custom Software Module, which would then pass on their relevant information back to the AR Scenes, which can then display the same as additional Data or Insights or Intelligence on top of the current Scene in view of the Display Screen.Benefits of AR based-Ground-Zero Analytics
AR-based Ground-Zero Analytics is the real-Time Avatar of the Offline Analytics that we are used to seeing on our Laptops and Mobiles in the form of reports, Dashboards and Visualizations, for the past few decades. While these serve our purpose fairly well, we still have to map (in our mind), the Real-World Scene/Domain about which this particular reports or dashboard or Visualization is talking about. However, with an AR-based “Ground-Zero” analytics, we can implement the concept of “Get your Insights when you See it and Where you see it”, in realtime. This can be very useful in situations where latency is crucial and we cannot wait for the offline BI and Analytics systems to do their analysis and then enable us to do after-the-fact analysis. An opportunity for Sales or Preventive Care could be lost. AR-based “Ground-Zero” Analytics can be the future of all reporting and Visualizations and if merged with the Digital-Viewing-Glasses, then we can be a walking-Encyclopaedia in the True-Sense.Use Cases of AR-based-Ground-Zero Analytics
AR-based Ground-Zero Analytics can be useful in the Operational Scenarios like Inspectional Visits to Oil refineries, or Office Installations or any Factory Installations. We can point our AR-enabled Mobile Camera on a particular Object in our View (which can have pre-determined Markers or using Markerless Hit-tests) and then use the information received by the AR applications, to pull out the relevant additional Information from the backend systems like Data warehouses, Visualization Software, Image processing software and then give relevant additional data or Instant Insights or Recommendations to the Field Officers or the Disaster Recovery Personnel.
AR-based Ground-Zero Analytics can be very useful in Defence Scenarios where a Soldier or Navy personnel can point at the Object-in-View to know more information about that object be it the terrain information, the wild fruit in the forest whether it can be consumed, Analysing enemy weapons or landmines, Enemy Troop movement or formations, Enemy Vehicles deployed, Soldier Injury analysis and suggested first aid (e.g. timely amputation of a Hand or Leg can save our Soldier if the appropriate information is provided using the AR-based Ground-Zero Analytics system.
AR-based Ground-Zero Analytics can be used in the Tourism industry to create AR-Guides which can show additional information, Visualizations of the Tourist Place or Monument, or Palace or Priceless Artifact in the Museum that a Visitor is viewing. This will make the Tourist’s visit more enriching. The AR-based Ground-Zero Analytics Travel companion can also give additional information about a particular shop, lake, local food speciality as seen in the local markets etc
AR-based Ground-Zero Analytics can be used in Server Management, especially in a Cloud Environment where there are tons of Server Farms. An AR-based Ground-Zero Analytics can give instantaneous information (in the form of Graphs, Tables, Text) to tell when was the last time a particular Server failed or had gone through maintenance or part replacement details within that Server and what was the cost and who was the service provider and what was the downtime and impact to the users of that Server. All this Insightful information can be obtained in real-time, just by Pointing our AR-enabled Mobile camera on that particular Server.
AR-based Ground-Zero Analytics can be a huge aid to the Insurance Investigators who can point at the part of a Vehicle Damaged in Accident and then try to get additional information about that part, its cost, availability with Suppliers, Service costs, Driver behaviors, Repair options, Insights based on other similar claims etc before computing the Insurance Claims, using the real-time information that is available on the Screens against each part of the Vehicle.
We can use AR-based Ground-Zero Analytics in the Global Education Industry, so be it in the Physical Classroom or in the Online Classes on a computer screen, we can get additional information about the topic being taught, by pointing our mobile camera onto the Writing board or the Computer Screen.
AR-based Ground-Zero Analytics can be used in the highly critical and large Security Industry, where we can get more information about a person or employee or vendor or customer who is entering or leaving our Office or Factory premises, just by pointing a mobile camera at them or their ID card and then the AR-based Ground-Zero Analytics system will pull all the recent history of that person, thus enabling the Security Personnel with additional information about the person, than what the person might be revealing. This also applies to National Security at our Borders, Immigration Offices, Airports, Local Police Surveillance, Customs, etc.
AR-based Ground-Zero Analytics can be used in the Billion-dollar Online Shopping Industry by the Customers, so they can get additional Text, Analytical, Audio and Video information about a product on their Mobile Camera before they make an Online Purchase. Thus, Online shopping is now more data-driven and intelligence-based, than what the Vendor wants to tell the customer.
In a country like India, where we still rely heavily on Small and Medium size shops for all our purchases, it would be an Innovative Concept to give each Shop an AR-Marker, so when a customer points this AR-based Ground-Zero Analytics application at the Shop’s Marker, the customer gets information about all the products that are sold in that shop, the quantities, the price range, as per their Budget. This enables the concept of Hybrid-Shopping Model ( or an Intelligent Window-Shopping Model), where a Customer is not Online, but physically in front of the Store and yet does not enter the Store yet, as he/she does Window Shopping using the AR-based Ground-Zero Analytics Application on their mobile phone – simply by pointing the Mobile camera at that Shop’s AR Marker-point.
There are hundreds of similar Use Cases as it is applicable to any Business Domain and any Industry like Newspaper, Advertising, Flyers, Books, Reference Books and Journals, Libraries, Detective Agencies, RTO offices, Traffic Violations, Legal Opinions, Medical Inference, Archaeology, Mining Industry, Port Management, Shipping Container Analytics and hundreds of other applications in all Domains of our lives and hence this concept of Ground-Zero Analytics is Ubiquitous in nature and only limited by our imagination, innovation and inquisitiveness.Conclusion
In this article, an attempt has been made to using three existing technologies like Augmented Reality (AR), Data Visualizations (backed by Data warehouses and Predictive/Prescriptive Analytics) and Image Processing, to come out with a Next-Generation Reporting Concept of Realtime “Ground-Zero” Analytics. Ground-Zero Analytics is not a complicated concept, it just involves the integration of Outputs/Inputs from AR, Data Visualization and Image Processing engines, to generate Augmented Analytics on top of the Realtime Scene being Viewed. This would enable the users to have Realtime relevant and additional data about their object in view, and thus make intelligent and Data-Driven decisions in real-time. Ground-Zero Analytics could soon be the new normal for all Operational Analytics, which can co-exist with the traditional Reports, Dashboards and Visualizations which would be used for Offline after-the-fact analysis on a detailed level over a historical period of time. Ground-Zero Analytics is basically trying to see the Descriptive, Predictive and Prescriptive Analytics of an Object-in-View in Real-time at the Location where it is Happening, using Mobile Cameras, AR Technologies, Visualization Technologies and Image Analytics – thus making it a solid platform for the Intelligent Viewing Glass Assistant of the Near-Future.About the Author
While virtual reality has many exciting business applications, augmented reality may be technology that eventually replaces what we think of as computing today. Mobile augmented reality is touted as a technology that could revolutionize the world of work, as its ability to add a digital layer to the world around us can help improve workflow, boost productivity and cut costs.
Augmented reality utilizes a camera, sensors, like GPS, and digital image processing to recognize the world around us, and then uses that information to add a contextualized digital layer of information on top. We recently saw this technology baked directly into the camera on Samsung’s Galaxy S8 smartphone, allowing users to point their device at a real-world landmark and instantly receive information about it.
But it’s in the enterprise where augmented reality could have the biggest impact. Here are five questions companies should consider when looking to integrate mobile augmented reality in their workflow.
1. Do I really need to use AR?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity growth averaged just 0.5 percent from 2011 to 2023 — meaning weaker economic growth and even stagnant wages. Mobile augmented reality promises not only to make workers’ lives easier but also significantly boost productivity. As this study shows, using an AR-enabled tablet or smartphone, employees were able to assemble parts of a wing — which required over 50 steps to assemble nearly 30 different parts — 30 percent faster with a 90 percent improvement in quality, compared to those using a desktop computer.Use AI to Work Without Barriers
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2. What business objectives can AR address?
As well as having the ability to enhance productivity, augmented reality technology is a powerful tool to increase engagement with a brand. For example, Tiffany & Co.’s Engagement Ring Finder app boosts customer engagement by letting shoppers access custom filters that show what their ring looks like in different lighting conditions. This approach can be used by a wide variety of businesses to enhance personalization: Car salespeople can show customers their car in different colors and clothing stores can let shoppers use mobile AR in a number of different ways, such as to try on garments at home before buying.
Education and training companies can also leverage AR technology. Educational companies can use it to make their apps more engaging, allowing students to interact with the real world around them. For training, a well-designed AR app can provide a guiding hand for people in the medical, construction or engineering fields, all the while saving money and boosting productivity.
3. What augmented reality technology is available today?
AR is being deployed in a range of hardware today, but most widely on smartphones, where the technology is now being deeply integrated into the latest smartphones and tablets, such as Bixby Vision in the Galaxy S8 smartphone. Using these portable devices in combination with the augmented reality technology can boost the productivity and skills of employees in a wide range of industries, thanks to their flexibility.
4. How do I integrate AR into my workflow?
Companies are eager to ensure they are using the latest technology and not getting left behind when it comes to the cutting-edge hardware and software its competitors may be using. However, it is important to assess carefully how best to roll it out to your employee- or customer-facing apps.
To integrate AR into your workflow, you need to consider several variables:
Is it going to be a seamless experience where employees can simply pick up and use the AR-enabled devices?
Will it boost productivity or will tasks take longer because employees have to use the technology?
Is it better to invest in hands-free hardware such as smartglasses or readily available technology like smartphones and tablets?
5. Where does the future of AR lie?
With its ability to boost workflow and improve employee productivity, mobile augmented reality is quickly taking off in the enterprise. It’s important for businesses to keep an eye on this revolutionary technology in order to not be left behind.
Read more about trends that are contributing to the rise of the digital workforce, including augmented reality and the Internet of Things.
AR might just be getting started on the iPhone, but some apps are already showing great potential. If you have a horizontal surface, a well-lit room, and a modern iPhone, check it out for yourself. Explore your iPhone’s capability with these augmented reality apps you can find in the App Store.1. Civilizations AR
Courtesy of the erudite folk at the BBC, Civilizations AR is an awesome way to bring impressive historical artifacts into your living room. Using this app, you can beam over 30 treasures such as Corinthian Helmets, sculptures, and even an Egyptian mummy onto your screen, then walk around them, rotate them, read about them – everything you want!
If you can’t go see the real things, then this is your next best bet.2. ARise
See what they did with the name there? But this engaging puzzle game is much more than a fun bit of wordplay. In the vein of Monument Valley, Where Shadows Slumber and countless other clever mobile puzzlers, ARise takes the whole perspective puzzler concept and gives you the impression that it’s right there in front of you. Instead of just moving the device around or rotating the camera to progress, you need to physically wander around the towering levels in front of you, finding the right perspective to make help your little centurion progress to the next stage.3. Night Sky
Night Sky is one the most popular iPhone apps, and it deserves its laurels. The app uses your phone’s orientation and GPS data to show a location-accurate star-scape on your phone screen. The app helps you identify constellations, name stars, and find planets. You can even overlay the star map on your present environment, applying the app’s star map to your camera’s viewpoint.4. IKEA Place
IKEA Place is one of the better-known AR apps. The app can download 3D models for IKEA furniture and place them in your very own house. See size- and color-accurate representations of how that couch would look in your living room or if the side table would match the coffee table.5. Snapchat
Despite a major kerfuffle over the app’s recent redesign, Snapchat offers an amazingly functional collection of AR features. Apply animated masks to your face for selfies or drop fun models into the world around you. Even if you don’t like the messenger, Snapchat has made some impressive progress with augmented reality design.6. JigSpace
JigSpace is an educational app that uses 3D models to teach you about real-world objects. From locks to the solar system, you can take tours of 3D models on your desk to experience how the world works first-hand. It’s exciting to see a 3D recreation of common machines on your tabletop, and the included instructional text helps you understand how all the pieces fit together. It’s especially well-suited for curious children and is great for adults, too!7. INKHUNTER
Try out tattoos on your body before you commit with INKHUNTER. Just draw a small icon on your skin to tell the app where to target. Then pick a tattoo and adjust until things look good. You can apply pre-installed tattoos, find tattoos online, or insert your own custom designs, then share the results on social media or save for later review.8. GIPHY World
Like the GIPHY GIF app, GIPHY World is created to help you create fun videos and messages you can share with your friends. You place 3D models drawn from GIPHY’s library in the world around you, take a video, and then share with friends and followers. It’s a little cheesy, but it makes Snapchat-style fun outside the world of the messenger app.9. Holo
Holo is similar to GIPHY World, but the collection of 3D models is a little larger. It’s the same idea as GIPHY, placing 3D versions of looping GIFs into your environment. Create a scene, take a video, and share with your followers and friends.10. Thyngs
Thyngs uses ARKit to let users place 3D animated models in their real world. It’s a fairly simple exploration of AR technology, but you can get creative and make some fun scenes. The available models are less meme-focused than the other apps on our list. You can actually create cool scenes and images rather than just goofy meme collages in three dimensions.11. Magic Plan
Of the AR measuring apps here, Magic Plan is the most fully-featured. It’s also the hardest to use for quick measurements, which is why it’s not the only measuring app on our list. It’s best for creating complex top-down floor plans to plan a construction project, remodel, or furniture purchase. Measure the room to create a floor plan, then move items around on your floor plan and import standard items to your plan. You can also buy pre-made floor plans or sign up for a floor plan subscription. It’s most awesome for the target market of real estate agents and contractors, who will appreciate the paid pro features, cost estimating tools, and support for several laser distance meters.12. PLNAR
PLNAR measures real-world objects via AR camera work. You can’t expect precise measurements, and you’ll want a steady camera hand. But even so, you can get some use out of the application and create three-dimensional models of rooms. Save the measurements for later, view the plan from other angles, and measure hard-to-reach areas. It also works in all three dimensions, unlike TapMeasure’s horizontal limitation. If the app was more accurate, it would be a killer. Until then, it’s a fun utility.13. TapMeasure
Like PLNAR, TapMeasure measures with AR. It can sometimes be more accurate than PLNAR, so it’s worth trying both to see which you prefer. Use the app to measure the dimensions of a room and export a SketchUp model of the location.Conclusion
Many AR apps are fairly similar. There hasn’t been a killer idea for AR yet, but one may be coming tomorrow. For now, you can explore this new avenue for app design on the App Store with these apps and others.
This article was updated in Oct 2023 to include more AR apps to the list.
Image credit: OyundariZorigtbaatar
Alexander Fox is a tech and science writer based in Philadelphia, PA with one cat, three Macs and more USB cables than he could ever use.
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QderoPateo Articulated Naturality Web Elevates Augmented Reality to a New Level
Some of the best applications out there for our favorite smartphones are based on the idea of Augmented Reality (AR). Utilizing the technology to get real-time information, just by looking at the world through your smartphone, is a cool idea, with plenty of people utilizing the technology to make new things even more interesting. But some companies can’t leave well enough alone, and want to make things even better. For example, QderoPateo Communications (QPC) has been hard at work on their Articulated Naturality experience, and now it looks like they’ve gone full-tilt, bringing Articulated Naturality Web to the forefront, and showing off everything it can do.
At this year’s World Economic Forum’s Summer Davos Conference, QPC outlined their idea for the brand new Articulated Naturality Web, which is an effort from the company to make Augmented Reality something that many people had only dreamed of. The company is describing the technology as a “complete renaissance in the way we approach technology,” which means it has to be bold. One cool idea of the future tech, is to be able to point your smartphone at the sky, and immediately get up-to-date weather conditions, right then and there.
QPC Establishes the World Articulated Naturality Web Forum at the World Economic Forum’s 4th Annual Meeting, ‘Summer Davos’
TIANJIN, China, Sept. 14 /PRNewswire/ — QderoPateo Communications, a world leader in development and delivery of Articulated Naturality Web Technology, has partnered with the Chinese government in Tianjin, China, to form the World ANW Forum as a sub-forum in Tianjin’s World Economic Forum, “Summer Davos Conference.”
Articulated Naturality Web, coined by Steve Chao, Chief Executive Officer of QPC, fuses augmented reality (AR) and the Internet together. ANW technology services include video scene feature identification, image processing, multi-sensor coordination, real-time positioning, wireless access, media information, digital publication, entertainment and other fields of augmented reality. The combination of these components coupled with the Internet and mobile Internet technology will form an emerging industry. The organizers of the World ANW Forum have decided the annual meeting was necessary to support the standardization and commercialization of the ANW according to the international practice’s mission to drive the commercialization, internationalization, and futurization of the ANW throughout the world.
QPC and the Chinese government in Tianjin see the platform as a valuable tool for global firms, financial agencies and media to keep track of the development and status quo of the ANW. It will also provide a communication platform between the industry and the government and between firms and agencies inside and outside the industry chain.
“Establishing the World ANW Sub-Forum in Tianjin at the World Economic Forum, ‘Summer Davos Conference’ establishes both QPC and China’s commitment to the world of visually connected information,” said Matt Gaines, Chief Marketing Officer of QPC. “Vision Harbour, our home in Tianjin, is the center of innovation,” Gaines added.
About QderoPateo Communications:
SOURCE QderoPateo Communications
HP’s Sprout Pro is here to remind us that Microsoft’s Surface Studio is not the original creativity-oriented PC, let alone the most creative. Two years ago, the original Sprout debuted with integrated cameras that could turn 3D objects into 2D or 3D digital images, and a projector that worked with a unique touch-sensitive workspace to manipulate those objects. But two years ago, the world wasn’t AR- and VR-crazed yet—and we were all still suffering under Windows 8. Now, the Sprout Pro brings an upgraded set of talents to a market that may finally be ready for it.
The Sprout Pro is slightly slimmer and taller, and about five pounds lighter than the original Sprout. HP also visually trimmed its profile by using more black-clad surfaces.
HP’s Sprout Pro lets you digitize 3D objects for easy content creation.
What makes the Sprout Pro unique are its Touch Mat and Sprout Illuminator. The 21.3-inch Touch Mat is the Sprout Pro’s second display, which lays on your work surface. The Sprout Illuminator is an array of components cantilevered over the top of the PC, including an Full-HD DLP projector that beams the second display’s image onto the Touch Mat. The Touch Mat can take 20-point touch input as well as a digital stylus, so you can write, draw, or use your hands. The display now projects in a more imaging-friendly 3:2 proportion.
You create images using the Illuminator’s downward-facing 14.6MP 2D camera or 3D camera and HP’s Work Tooks software. (The original Sprout had an Intel RealSense camera, which has been replaced by this new, unidentified 3D camera.) By comparison, the Surface Studio and the dual-display computer expected from Dell offer digital work surfaces but no integrated image-creation capabilities.
HP’s Sprout Pro is shown taking multiple images of an object, which it can turn into a 2D or 3D image.
The rise of Windows 10 goes hand in hand with many of the Sprout Pro’s improvements. The original Sprout had a proprietary, full-screen Workspace interface for image creation, because Windows 8.1 didn’t quite offer what HP needed. But users balked at having to learn something new. “We spent a lot of time trying to hide Windows, but we found people wanted to work with it anyway,” admitted HP Distinguished Technologist Brad Short, adding, “People felt trapped in the app.”
The 3D capabilities coming with the Creators Update play right into the Sprout’s strengths. The Sprout Pro will work with any Windows app that supports a digitizer, offering a more discreet array of WorkTools icons along the bottom of the screen. “We’re exposing the features of Sprout in the apps they’re familiar with,” Short explained.
For the Sprout Pro, HP moved the utilities from a full-screen interface to a discreet row of icons along the bottom of the display.
HP’s Sprout Pro is being used in Europe’s Media Markt retail chain to help customers choose vinyl wraps for their appliances. Here, a refrigerator mock-up is rotated to see how a telephone-booth wrap would look.
In manufacturing, the Sprout’s projection capabilities are helping train workers on assembly lines, and in retail, it’s an interactive tool. HP showed an example from European retail giant Media Markt, where customers use the Sprout to choose a decorative vinyl wrap for their appliances and rotate the mock-up to decide whether they like it. (So when is this coming to the United States?) “People love the large interactive surface,” Short said.
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