Sep 102011

All in all it looks like a shockingly affordable gadget for small businesses

Say what you will about Hewlett-Packard’s consistently terrible corporate management and laughable failures in tablets and smartphones, HP still knows a thing or two about amazing peripherals. Witness the just-announced HP TopShot LaserJet Pro M275, an impressive web-connected printer/scannerthat can scan 3D objects and still comes in at a reasonable $399.99. Of course this doesn’t mean the kind of 3D for which you probably spent way too much money on a 3DS. The function is intended to streamline the process of photographing objects and getting the images online, for people who make their living from boutique sites or on eBay.

The scanner works by using the camera mounted on the crane arm to take 6 individual images from different angles and exposure levels. Those photos are then combined into a single image that HP claims will be seamless. Pretty cool, but in addition to the whole “wow, it scans 3D images” thing, the HP TopShot will also come with some useful features, like apps for posting the images directly to online storage sites and auctions, and the ability to print directly from your smart phone or devices like iPad and iPod Touch. Scans are able to get up to 245 dpi, which isn’t bad unless you consider the HP TopShot prints up to 600 dpi. Assuming HP doesn’t experience yet another management shuffle that veers the whole company sideways, future incarnations will likely have higher quality scans.

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