PC with built-in 3D Scanner and Projector for Under $2K

You could go to the official HP web site (, which has photos of hands, and origami, and phrases like “express yourself” that don’t tell you anything about what this thing actually is.

Or read some of the reports of people who have actually used it. The HP Sprout is a desktop touch screen computer that comes with an integrated 3D scanner and projector and the Touch Mat, which looks kind of like a big mouse pad but has a capacitive touch surface. The projector also can project images onto the surface of the 20-inch mat, which you can then interact with – like a keyboard, piano keys, or a drawing pad.

The best description I’ve seen yet is PCMag’s, including more on the 3D scanning ability.  One limitation on the scanner, according to CNET:

“Right now, the Sprout only scans the top half of objects — the part facing up toward the Illuminator’s cameras — but sometime next spring, HP promises support for full 3D scanning. There’s also a plan to have the Sprout send its data to 3D printers, too.”

Yes, you have to put up with Windows 8, but you can get this all-in-one package in about two weeks for $1899.99.

For more photos, check out The Verge:

HP Sprout. Source:
Passenger Pigeon

Virtual Passenger Pigeon Bones and Digital Zooarchaeology

Digital model of passenger pigeon humerus
Digital model of a passenger pigeon humerus createdfrom an archaeological site. Created by the Virtual Curation Laboratory, Virginia Commonwealth University.

On the 100th anniversary of the extinction of the passenger pigeon, the Virtual Curation Laboratory at Virginia Commonwealth University has just posted the results of a project to create 3D models of passenger pigeon bones. Most of the source bones were excavated from an archaeological site in Virginia. Its a fantastic idea that will make easier for everyone, including scientists trying to identify passenger pigeon at archaeological and paleontological sites.

There are already hundreds of prehistoric sites where this bird has been identified, but it is surprisingly less common to have passenger pigeon identified from historic period archaeological sites.  One factor complicating their identification in historical sites is the challenge of distinguishing passenger pigeon from the similarly sized rock dove, or common pigeon (Columba livia), that  was introduced to North America in the 1600s.  Often when pigeon bones of a certain size are found in historic period sites, they are classified only as Columbidae, or pigeon. It would be nice to see the VCL also produce 3D models of the rock dove, so zooarchaeologists without access to a comprehensive faunal collection might be better able to distinguish these two species.

For more information, see the VCL website.