Imagine yourself as a single key cap on a keyboard. It’s a lonely existence, especially if you’re one of the oft-used letters like “A” or a remote key like “~”. As a frequently used key, you constantly wince in anticipation of the giant hand looming over you, ready to strike you with inexorable speed. You depress under the weight of the hammer and spring back, only to wait for the next stroke to fall. On the other hand, if you’re a key like “Scroll Lock” that sits far away from the regular keys, you yearn to be pressed, hoping desperately that the user will accidentally smash you.
But what if you could truly experience life as a key cap? Thanks to the Gboard Caps project by Google Japan, that option is now available. The project involves creating a key cap…cap. This cap can be worn like a hat and is designed to type out different characters based on the direction and position of your head when you press it.
The developers of Gboard Caps assure that their creation actually works. They describe it as both “portable” and “fashionable,” and it’s hard to argue with that. The Japan team has even created a webpage where you can virtually try on the Google Cap using your webcam. By tilting your head in different directions, you can type out full sentences in English characters or Japanese Hiragana.
The Gboard Japan blog explains, “I want to carry around a keyboard that fits my hand, but my hands are full and I can’t. We developed it with not only portability in mind but also functionality and form.” The team claims that users can rotate their heads from side to side to produce different keystrokes based on the angle. And don’t worry, they’ve included a “caps lock” module to prevent the key from falling off your head.
If you’re interested in making your own Google Cap, you can find the entire design on Github. The team has also provided a design document in Japanese that you can use to create a cap out of cardboard.
But this isn’t the end of Gboard’s creative keyboard designs. In the past, they have created a long stick keyboard where every cap is placed in a row and a keyboard that can be used as a large mug. Their latest creation, however, is perhaps their best yet, especially for those looking for a mostly hands-free experience. The team is even considering future designs like a reversible red and white version, a version with a built-in display, a version with a smartphone case, and a solar-powered version.
If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to live life as a key cap on a keyboard, the Gboard Caps project by Google Japan offers a unique and whimsical opportunity to experience just that. Whether you choose to virtually try on the cap or create your own, it’s a fun way to engage with technology and explore the possibilities of wearable keyboard accessories.