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2011/07/15

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Interview with the INOU developer - A strong desire to create products that reflect the cyclist’s viewpoint.

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“Complete defeat at a race led him to enter the world of road racing, seriously.”

―How did you become involved in the development of bicycle products?
Okuda: I’ve always loved off-road motorbikes and was interested in the designing of motorbikes and cars. Then I started thinking, “What is more familiar to me than motorbikes and cars?” That thought diverted my attention to bicycles.


―I see. When did you become a cyclist?
Okuda: I’ve always been an outdoor lover and I was riding a mountain bike when I joined the company. I took part in races with the support of the company. I achieved good results in the races I participated in and that made me confident enough to take up the challenge of entering a road race. I casually entered myself in a road race and the result was a total defeat. (LOL) So, I pulled my socks up and joined a local cycling team and actively participated in road races.


―Do you think that you being a cyclist yourself has given you positive feedback on your product development activities?
Okuda: Yes, as I always try to develop products from the viewpoint of users, I think it is important for me to continue riding a bicycle.


―Your cycling activities led to the development of the new product, INOU, I assume.
Okuda: When I started developing INOU, I strongly felt the need for a product with a GPS and I proposed to create something similar to a car navigation system. Then the idea expanded and I had a strong urge to, “develop a product that is not just a navigator but a product that offers more enjoyment for cyclists.” The result was the development of a trip recorder, which also enables you to record GPS data.


―I think it is a quite innovative product. Did you experience complications during the development of INOU?
Okuda: It involved not just the creation of an actual product – simultaneously, we needed to develop software and the web application that were to be linked to INOU. This part was significantly different from previous products and we faced difficulties. Another hurdle was that we had to exercise our ingenuity more than ever to make the product’s battery life adequately long for practical use.

“It’s so easy to operate and use, and it’s great for creating connections with other people.”


―So you had to overcome huge hurdles to create “INOU” – what is the great thing about it?
Okuda: I think INOU has two appealing features.
One is its operability – simply, press buttons to take photos and record videos, no thinking required. You switch it on, cycle and shoot – that’s all you have to do.
The other is that you can share your recorded data with people across the world. If you download your recorded data to the purpose-built application, you can show the views of your cycling course and introduce your favorite course to your friends.
You can also show what you recorded to people across the world via Facebook and Twitter. Or, someone from abroad may tell you about a course that you don’t know.


―With INOU, the way you enjoy cycling can be expanded, can’t it?
Okuda: In the future, I would like to create products for athletes - something to aid athletes running faster or to help them train to run even faster. I think it would be great if I can actually make such products through linking them with social media.



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Born in 1971. He joined CatEye Co., Ltd. in 1994, after graduating from the Design Department, Osaka University of Arts. As an assistant manager of the Designing Group in Marketing Department, he engages himself in product development. He himself is a cyclist and owns six bicycles for different purposes, including a commuting bike, a racing bike, a motocross bike and a mountain bike.

About INOU:
INOU (MSC-GC100)
A new trip recorder which enables you to take photos and videos of where you passed during cycling by simply pressing the button. It also enables you to record route information from a GPS. It’s an innovative tool - when you input that information into a specialized application, you can share information and communicate with people across the world.

Key features:
■ Records the GPS route information (longitude, latitude, altitude, speed, time), photos and videos of your cycling course as trip data.
■ The video mode offers two image quality settings – 30 frames (smooth) and 15 frames (sharp).
■ With our analogue speed sensor, measured distance data can be accurately corrected.
■ Water resistant for daily use.
■ Compete with two types of mounting brackets: “FlexTightTM” (H-34N) light bracket and all-purpose Helmet Mount bracket.