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Developers dream of their products being popular and widely used

Tomohiro Kamai
Product Engineering Department

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What is the Bamboo series?

Bamboo is a series of products that can be widely used by anyone.Boasting an extensive lineup, featuring a range of different stylus specifications, touch pads and software, the series aims to digitally meet the various needs of writing and drawing on paper.I am involved in the development of the mechanisms that achieve this.

Customer requirements for Bamboo

This Bamboo is not aimed at professionals, so its design concept is a bit different to products that are.Of course performance and functionality are important, but that shouldn't be used as a reason to make the product bigger and heavier.It is easy to ask for advanced functionality, but I feel that making the product bigger and more expensive to enable this is not what Bamboo users are looking for.Of course, I do think that a design and user-friendliness that promote the easy use of the product by many people are also very important.

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Striving for balance

The things that we had to pay the most attention to during development of the Bamboo Pad were getting the balance between design and the mechanistic (functional) side of things, and then making it easy to use. My job is to look after a product's appearance. And I can tell you, it was very tough (laughs). You can't decide on the design until the internal infrastructure (IC chip etc) has been decided, and I had lots of different proposals from the designers. It is really difficult to get that balance right.

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Developing the tactile writing sensation of the Bamboo Stylus feel

It took quite a lot of time and effort to develop the pen for the Bamboo Styles feel. We call this "Wacom feel IT technologies". In order to create the feeling of writing on paper, things like how the pen feels in the user's hand and the tactile writing sensation become very important. For example, the relationship between the amount of pen-to-paper friction and ease of writing varies quite a bit among users. Should you allow the pen to slide across the page or should it get held up just a bit? Should we go for a hard feeling or a soft feeling...?

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Driven by research results

The Bamboo Styles series, where the pen type is rubber, faces the same sensory issues that are very difficult to collect data on.In order to find the right answers, we conducted detailed research by internally testing each trial model that was produced and getting feedback via questionnaires.We also had to think about not just the external appearance and the sensory aspect of things, but also the structure and functionality of the product.We finally found the right answers after repeated trial-and-error testing.As a result of our research, we decided to provide two types of 6mm rubber pen tips - one soft one and one hard one.After further trial-and-error testing, we then decided to use a pen tip that was 1mm smaller for the latest Bamboo Stylus solo and Bamboo Stylus duo.

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Creating Bamboo as modern stationery

The Bamboo series should also be considered as stationery, because it is an instrument for writing and drawing. The cooperation of a factory that specializes in the manufacturing of stationery products was indispensable to perfecting Bamboo's stationery qualities. Although writing and drawing may appear to be extremely simple actions, you need to approach the challenge of digitally recreating their sensations from many different angles, such as mechanistically, aesthetically and in terms of the software required.

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Preparations for production!

Once we have decided a product's specifications, structure and design after trial-and-error tests, we then move on to the preparations for its production. At this stage, we suddenly increase the number of business trips to visit factories all over the world. We face a really grueling schedule, as we have to explain the specifications to the local staff, bring back samples, check them and go back to the factory again. However, the work has been grueling right from the beginning, so it is probably inaccurate to say that it gets even more grueling (laughs).

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What makes developers happy?

We are finally happy when the product that we have worked so hard to make is released onto the market. Developers dream of seeing products that they have developed becoming popular and widely used.I would also like this Bamboo product to be used more widely by more people. As a developer, I want to see it doing well.I also think that a product like Bamboo derives its significance from being widely used.

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The future of Bamboo

Us developers always want to hear the opinions of our customers. In fact, when you look the results of surveys about Bamboo, you can see that they are all using the products in their own different ways. It is very interesting and hugely motivating to see that there are many ways of using the product that I had never even imagined. In the future I would like to build better products that fully reflect the needs of the users. Of course, I would also like them to have high hopes for the future of Bamboo as well. I count on your continuing support.

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