Japanese gadget continues the noble tradition of chindōgu - ingenious but awkward solutions to problem that are barely worth solving

Attracted by the slew of big-screen smartphones on the market but lacking the necessary giant hands? Well, Japanese nonsense maker Thanko has just the perfect peripheral: a giant fake thumb.

Called the ‘Yubi Nobiiru’ (sorry, Google Translate was no help here), the pint-size prosthetic is actually a stylus – albeit one shaped to look like a thumb.

It's made from soft silicone, weighs 11 grams and adds an extra 15 millimetres of reach to the wearer’s existing digits. Yours to buy now for just ¥1,480 (£8.31).

The device actually first came out in May this year, but seems to have been dragged into the limelight thanks to Apple’s new iPhone 6 Plus – the company’s first foray into the world ‘phablets’ that comes with a sizeable 5.5-inch scene.

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal a spokesperson for Thanko said: “This wasn’t specifically designed for the new iPhone but for overall smartphones because screen sizes are getting larger and difficult to handle.”


The Yubi Nobiiru seems to belong firmly in the idiosyncratic genre of Japanese gadgets known as chindōgu – objects that seem like ingenious solutions to everyday problems, but that actually create more difficulties or are simply too embarrassing to use.

For Western audiences this sort of product is usually associated with one-off ‘jokey’ gifts that might be laughed at once and then consigned to the rubbish bin – think slip on umbrellas for your shoes or a tie with pockets on the back for storing your stationary and money.

Despite the jokes though, the Yubi Nobiiru does address a real problem: bigger screens are awkward to use – even if people do definitely want them.

The iPhone 6 Plus has met with favourable reviews, but even Apple recognized that it was more than sizeable, introducing a new feature dubbed ‘reachability’ that moves down the top of the screen to get it under user' thumbs.

Is dealing with bigger screens a software problem or a hardware problem? We’re not sure – but it’s certainly not something you can solve with a fake silicone thumb.