When it comes to saving sketches digitally, we’ve seen nearly every possible tool or gadget that could possibly be conceived: touchscreen stylus designs that emulate analog pens, sketchbooks that make it ‘easy’ for snapping pics that get uploaded to the cloud, iPad apps that emulate natural writing materials, dual ink pen/stylus combos and professional sketching apps that make everything from turning the angle of a page to zooming in and out feel like an analog experience on digital displays – a user experience that’s at the heart of the new iPad Pro.

But, as Amazon is trying to prove with their new Dash buttons, these unnecessary steps that take us in and out of apps to complete a single predictable action can be a cumbersome experience. Ultimately, the future of connecting to the Cloud consists of invisible interfaces that require little human input.

Aiming to bridge your paper notes with the digital world with a simple press of a button, Wacom is also moving towards creating invisible interfaces for digital sketching with their new Bamboo Spark system.


The “smart folio with a smart ballpoint pen” from the popular digital sketching peripheral company offers the best of both worlds in an industry saturated with tools that compromise: the ability to sketch on paper while saving those sketches to the cloud for use in digital applications.


The system works through tracking each and every stroke made on a single page through the Wacom Ink Layer Language (WILL) – whether it’s notes or sketches – and a user simply pushes an onboard button to mark the end of one page and the beginning of another page. In total, the Spark Folios can hold up to 50 sheets of any loose paper – a nice touch for those tired of spending hundreds of dollars a year on Moleskines – while the pen itself is capable of storing up to 100 pages worth of data.

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Perhaps the best feature, however, is that sketches automatically upload to a dedicated folder or app as long as there is a Bluetooth or web connection – meaning that the days of having to snap a grainy photo of your sketchbook page with a smartphone and emailing it to yourself are over.


The current lineup of Bamboo Spark smart folios include the ‘smart folio with gadget pocket’, the ‘smart folio with tablet sleeve’ and the ‘smart folio with snap-fit for iPad Air 2’.

Find out more by heading over to Wacom.


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.