Google Japan is having a bit of fun this weekend with the announcement of the Gboard Bar, a physical keyboard that has all of its keys lined up in a row. Google Japan claims that there are a number of benefits to its new keyboard, the most important being that it allows users to find the key they are looking for faster than ever.
Like any good product, it all starts with inspiration. For Google Japan, that inspiration came from the fact that, for years, many had focused only on the word “key” in the word “keyboard” and never got beyond it. In Japanese, the word keyboard translates to KEYBOARD (kii-bou-do), so with キー (kii (key)) receiving so much attention, he decided to focus on the 泽 (bou) part, which by itself translates to bow. (staff/bar). Using this, he was able to create a new layout, improving navigation compared to a traditional keyboard by placing all the keys in a straight line. According to the firm, this minimizes the need to look in all directions as on a traditional keyboard. You can start at the beginning and go through each key until you find what you’re looking for.
It also states that there are ergonomic and health benefits associated with the new keyboard, allowing arms and legs to stretch naturally when typing. The device even has extra features, like becoming a physical extension of your limbs, making it easier to press buttons that might be out of arms reach. You can also use it on hiking trips as a trekking pole or ruler to measure objects, and it’s even easy to clean, requiring only a long cloth. For now, Google only has plans for a standard design, but is considering an emoji version and an LED gaming model as well.
If it wasn’t clear by now, this is something of a joke, and Google Japan has no plans to mass-produce it and make it available for sale. But, it has a github page set where you have uploaded all the necessary data files so you can create your own if you wish. While this may seem like a fun project, keep in mind that it will be long, measuring 1650mm or around 5ft 5in. If that’s too much, Google reminds us that there’s also a perfectly good Gboard app that can be downloaded to iOS and Android devices, offering an impressive set of features that can improve your writing experience in new ways.
Font: Google Japan Blog, Gboard Bar website
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