Have you ever looked all over your keyboard because you can’t find the exact key you wanted to click on? Found your keyboard too big and taking too much space on your table? Wanted to use your keyboard to help turn on and off the switch on the wall? Well, Google Japan has the solution for you.
While Gboard might be more familiar to you as the keyboard app on your smartphone, that hasn’t stopped the Gboard Japan team from designing and building a one-of-a-kind keyboard for real life. According to them, we’ve only ever focused on the ‘key’ on the keyboard, and so they were inspired to do more with the ‘board’ part. What they’ve ended up with though is a keyboard that’s a ‘simpler, straighter keyboard’, with just a single row of keys called the Gboard Bar.
It’s a ridiculous 1650mm long (or roughly 65 inches), and it took the Gboard Japan team a total of 17 boards aligned in a straight line together to build it, with 16 boards just for mounting the keys itself with another control board. While it may be extremely long though, it is just 64mm in depth, which the Gboard team claims makes it super convenient on desks where documents and other stuff take up most of the space. The design of the Gboard bar also apparently makes it easier to remember where each key is—G for example the 16th key from the left, while S is 23cm from the left.
Other design problems “solved” by the Gboard bar include no more getting stepped on by your pet cat while working from home, as well as being easy to clean. You could even use it in tandem, doubling productivity speeds. The Gboard Japan team then goes to talk about how they also wanted the Gboard bar to be extremely versatile, where you can use it to improve your balance, rest your chopsticks on it, as a ruler to measure your child’s height, a walking stick while walking or even install a net to make it a literal bug catcher.
In case you couldn’t tell, this is mostly a joke, but Google Japan really did build and develop the Gboard Bar keyboard. While you won’t be able to actually buy it, Google Japan has uploaded onto a Github page with all of the design, data and firmware files for the Gboard Bar so that if you’re interested, you can make and use a Gboard Bar keyboard yourself. Even if you don’t plan to do so though, we recommend checking out the full video by Google Japan where they show off the Gboard Bar in all its glory (you’ll need to turn on captions):