[CES 2018] HP has been pioneering the field of object-scanning in the PC space since 2014. We covered HP’s efforts with the HP Sprout Pro in 2016, followed by the HP Sprout G2 just last year (watch our demo video). Both work on the principle of having a tight integration between PC, Monitor and 3D Camera. While the experience was great, there was one friction point: you needed to change/upgrade your PC setup with a very specific hardware. HP solves this by launching the HP Z 3D camera, which is a standalone version.

Built with a simple magnetic attachment that would work with any monitor, the overall workflow would be very similar to what the HP Sprout would offer. Of course, it might not be 100% as well integrated, but users should make it work perfectly, while being able to have their own choice of workstation hardware.

Once the camera is installed, the core functionality is similar to what the HP Sprout computers offer. It is possible to scan 3D objects, even while holding it in your hands as the computer will remove your hands in real time, and is smart enough to use multiple shots to scan the parts that your hands covered at one time.

It is also possible to capture 2D images, or use the camera for video conferencing if you want to show something. Since the camera is at an angle, there is a keystone feature built-in that creates a perfect rectangle from a trapeze view.

Video game makers can also scan objects and textures that are ready for physically based rendering (PBR) at a very low cost. Finally, the scans are ready to use into PowerPoint 3D and Paint 3D (Windows 10 Creators Update). This camera should be available around March 18 2018 for around $599.

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