Google Japan’s weird new keyboard may catch bugs too


Japan delights us with products like the Pen Pineapple Apple Pen and the Iyashi Octopus Sucker Massager. Google captivates us with cheerful products such as Gmail and Pixel phones. So what happens when you combine Japan with Google? Simple. You get a Gboard bug catcher, of course.

Discover the playful concept of a keyboard from Google Japan. The Gboard Stick is a long, thin ruler-like device with letter keys along its length, to which a net can be attached at the end.

Image: Google Japan

It’s clearly a joke by Google – perhaps trying to make up for its ruthless shutdown of Stadia over the weekend), and even its URL is snappy and very Google-y. (https://landing.google.co.jp/________________/).

There is a catch to this whole concept. You have to do it yourself. It requires a 3D printer and a working knowledge of the Japanese language… and culture. For example, the specs given by Google Japan for the Gboard stick include such specifics as “it’s wide enough for a cat to walk through” and strong enough to carry “three t-shirts when propped up at the two ends”.

The actual keyboard is 65 inches long, or 165cm. The keys are laid out in QWERTY format although this can be changed to ASCII code layout if required. The keyboard can be used as a ruler or a hiking pole, or you can hook a net to its end and catch bugs, which Google Japan is pretty excited about, judging by the website. The site also mentions the ability for two people to sit side by side and use the keyboard at the same time as a piano.

This isn’t Google Japan’s first foray into fancy keyboard design. The company released the yunomia Gboard teacup, in October 2021. It is a teacup covered with kanji keyboard keys. No more spilled tea on your keyboard.

If you’ve ever had enough of mechanical keyboards or thought “Man, keyboards are getting so boring”, take a moment to look across the Pacific to the great nation of Japan, where the ripples of the neck and keyboard bug catchers were born.

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