Google Japan's GBoard Keyboard Doubles as a Bug Catcher Stick

GBoard stick version
GBoard stick version (Image credit: Google Japan)

If you're sick of typing on your boring keyboard, Google Japan has a new concept keyboard that will blow you out of your chair. The company is having some fun and has revealed a GBoard stick version keyboard resembling a long ruler or stick. The project is likely a fun prank; even the website's URL gives that vibe. However, Google Japan shared the resources to build the keyboard, so we'll let you decide for yourself.

The GBoard stick version keyboard is a DIY project that you can make and personalize yourself if you have access to a 3D printer. Instead of the standard layout, the keyboard has the keys in a single row. The keyboard measures 1,650mm, approximately 65 inches long. According to Google Japan, the width is "wide enough for a cat to walk across," whereas the height is a "comfortable thickness." The load capacity is "three t-shirts when supported on both ends."

Google Japan's justification for the keyboard's design is sometimes it can be difficult for users to find the right key because they have to look in two directions (up and down and left and right). The GBoard stick version keyboard simplifies the search process and arranges the keys in a straight line, so users only have to look in one direction.

Google Japan also touched on the ergonomic design of the keyboard. For example, users naturally stretch their arms and legs when typing on the keyboard. Google Japan shared a scenario where two people can type on the same keyboard as if playing the piano. It could be a practical device for pair programming.

The keyboard features a QWERTY layout. However, since it's a DIY keyboard, you can customize it to an ASCII code layout or assign each key to an emoji if you're the expressive type. Although Google Japan's invention is a keyboard, first and foremost, there are other applications. For example, you can use the GBoard stick version keyboard as a ruler, balancing pole, a stick to scrape out items that fell under your furniture, or use it as a stick for your critter catcher. If you're into the outdoors, the keyboard can serve as your trekking pole.

The current version of the keyboard looks simple and minimalistic. Nonetheless, Google Japan is contemplating developing a gaming version of the GBoard stick version keyboard with illumination in seven different colors.

Google Japan has no plans to release the keyboard. Instead, the company has opted for an open-source design approach, uploading the drawings, circuit diagrams, and firmware on Github.

Zhiye Liu
RAM Reviewer and News Editor

Zhiye Liu is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Although he loves everything that’s hardware, he has a soft spot for CPUs, GPUs, and RAM.