Reading 2.0: There’s an app for that
posted at 5:31 pm on March 8, 2014 by Jazz Shaw
This has apparently been in development for a while now, but the first public offering of it caught my attention this morning. (Warning: this is essentially non-political, but the technology could absolutely affect how we all process and deliver information if it’s viable.) The concept is that you might be able – with a little practice – to use a new piece of technology to read anywhere from 250 to 1,000 words per minute without losing reading comprehension. If that sounds too good to be true.. well, maybe it is. But that’s the claim of Spritz.
If you constantly have a big stack of books and magazines on your bedside table, you might have at some point wished you were able to read a little bit faster. Luckily, there’s an app for that.
Spritz, a new app making its debut on Samsung devices, promises to help you read 250 to 1,000 words per minute. To put that in perspective, at 1,000 words per minute, you’d be able to read an entire Harry Potter novel in a little over an hour.
So how does Spritz work? The technology “removes the inconvenience of scrolling, swiping, squinting and pinching to read on your devices by streaming individual words, one by one, at the user’s desired speed,” according to the Boston-based startup. Developed and tested for more than three years, the technology allows the brain to focus on each word, promoting faster reading and higher information retention.
Apparently, the basic idea is that the most effort which goes into reading is the repetitive eye motion involved; scanning from side to side on the page or up and down the screen. Spritz purports to eliminate that time and effort on the part of your brain by displaying all of the words in sequence in a single spot, with you controlling the pace at which they display. It also identifies the letters which your brain usually deems the most “important” in recognizing a word and moving on to the next one. Spritz uses an algorithm to highlight those letters in red, drawing your focus to them and speeding up your potential input rate.
A couple of seemingly obvious questions come to mind, though. Yes, it sounds like a phenomenal bit of technology for just reading a block of text, but not everyone reads that way. Can you “bookmark” where you are and come back later? Sure, it’s great if it allows you to read A Tale of Two Cities in 90 minutes, but we don’t always have 90 uninterrupted minutes to read. And what of people who want to extract and use the text in other places, such as ::: ahem ::: bloggers, or just consumers who want to share a paragraph with a friend via e-mail or social media? Can you cut and paste from this?
There’s a short video on it from the Today Show below. So tell me… have any of you already tried this? Does it sound viable? Or is it the next step in SKYNET enslaving us all? I’m not sure why, but when I saw this I was immediately attracted to the idea, particularly given how much I have to read on a daily basis for my work. (Say nothing of recreational reading.)
Check it out and let me know what you think..