Several years ago, Google Japan started cooking up weird novelty keyboards as an annual April Fools’ Day prank. Most of the creations, including a working version of Google’s mobile Gboard keyboard wrapped around a cup, are more or less sight gags. They also don’t seem to be bound to April anymore. But this year’s creation might actually have some merit for those of us who struggle with cluttered, messy desks.
Despite having access to a stack of keyboards offering everything from whisper quiet chiclet-style keys to mechanical monsters loud enough to wake the dead, I tend to stick to the keyboard on my laptop for the simple reason that it takes up less space on my desk—a desk that’s perpetually cluttered with gadgets, cameras, video games, and an ever-growing mountain of backup drives. There’s no room for an alternative, or at least I assumed there wasn’t, until I saw the Gboard stick.
What Google Japan has done this time around is simply re-arrange the QWERTY keyboard into one long strip, like the keys on a piano, producing a physical keyboard prototype that measures in at a whopping 65-inches across. But it also only roughly 2.5-inches deep, allowing it to easily squeeze onto the bottom edge of even the most atrociously cluttered workspaces.
Google Japan touts some other questionable advantages to the Gboard Stick, including that it naturally encourages the user to stretch their arms and legs to reach every last key, provides a potentially easier way for hunt and peck typists to memorize the location of keys. Its size also supposedly allows two people to comfortably use it at the same time, paving the way for email duets.
If you don’t think the Gboard Stick is an entirely ludicrous idea, you can head over to GitHub, where Google Japan has shared all the open-source files that went into its creation, making it easier for others to either build one for themselves or even opt for a custom version with an alternate layout.