What you need to know
- Google has introduced a physical Gboard keyboard in Japan.
- The Gboard bar is a long strip of keys arranged in a single row.
- Google doesn’t plan to release the keyboard to consumers, but a series of drawings, circuit diagrams, and firmware to create one is available on GitHub.
Google wants you to own a version of Gboard that you can actually hold onto, so the company unveiled the Gboard Bar in Japan with a unique design that offers a whole new approach to physical keyboards.
The Gboard Bar’s design is different from the best ergonomic keyboards money can buy, but it promises to make it easier to find the characters you want to type thanks to its single-row setup. According to Google (opens in new tab)modern keyboard designs make that process difficult because the keys are arranged on a flat surface, requiring you to look in two directions: up and down, as well as left and right.
Google tries to solve that dilemma by designing a keyboard that contains all the keys in one long bar, so that searching for keys is less of a headache. In addition, it forms a long stick that can be used for other purposes. For example, you can use it as a ruler or stick to get to your wall-mounted light switch. You can also turn it into a bug removal stick by attaching a bug removal module. The list of use cases goes on and on.
The Gboard Bar is 1650mm long and 64mm wide. This means stretching your arms and legs while typing.
On the other hand, it is an ideal keyboard design for two people typing on the same keyboard for a team project, although it is a rare use. It has a one-dimensional QWERTY layout, but you can also convert it to an ASCII code layout.
Its slim design makes it a handy place on your desk for documents to pile up, as it takes up little vertical space, notes Google. In the future, the search giant wants to develop a game version with RGB colors.
Google has no plans to sell the physical Gboard keyboard, as it’s clearly one of the company’s jokes. That said, it has made open source resources available on GitHub for anyone interested in building their own DIY Gboard Bar.