Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Reading Reimagined - Coolest New Tech On the Block!

Yes, the title is a bit 'naff'.

But, the technology I am about to dedicate to this post is most certainly NOT 'naff'.  In fact, its quite cool and likely to revolutionise how we access information, read a book, and in theory, take the art of cramming to a whole new level.

Techno Man sent me a link to this new technology, eager for me to take a look.  Initially I was a bit skeptic. (ok, I confess, I was playing Candy Crush and was somewhat fixated on trying to get to that elusive next level - I've blogged on its addictive qualities before which you can read here - and didn't really want to be distracted)

However, after I read a few lines and had a practice or two of the embedded App, I have to say I am impressed.  I can see multiple applications for how this will be accessed - and on a personal level, I can imagine all the hours I spend reading research and various articles being reduced dramatically.

Let me introduce to you 'Spritz'.

Spritz is text streaming technology that allows users to read up to 1000 words per minute.  In the last few weeks it has been released for Samsung GS5s and Galaxy Gear 2.   This nifty tech has been designed to work on mobile digital devices and to allow users to read, retain and assimilate information quickly without having to scroll, pinch and swipe to navigate.

The company is a Boston Based software developer and they have coined it 'Reading Reimagined'.  They have spent the last 3 years working on the technology.   Currently you can test it out in English, French, Spanish, German, Korean and Russian with Chinese next.

Heres how it works:

The text you want to read is streamed via the Spritz App one word at a time, through a small reading pane called a 'redicle'.

Each letter that is streamed has one letter in red - this is to help your brain piece the word together quickly and it is placed at its 'optimal recognition point'.  The whole point is so that you can read something with the least amount of eye movement.

The speed the text is delivered through the 'redicle' is adjustable, and range from 100 words per minute to 1000!

The company have had some positive early feedback from dyslexic and ADD (Attention Deficiet Disorder) learners, and hope that it will be a useful tool.  As an educator, I can see how this App might be useful for students and adults learners alike.

I am not sure how well it would work for reading fiction, as one word at a time would distract from how I like to 'imagine' a story as it plays out in my mind - sometimes the beauty of the written word is in the well crafted sentence, and seeing it in its totality.  Being able to 'picture' and 'hear' the characters and get a sense of the drama implicit in the sub text is a key appeal of the act of reading.  However, for factual reports, research and day to day reading like emails and practical text - it would be a godsend.  I get a bit excited just thinking how quickly I could clear off emails and other important documents, freeing me up for more important daily tasks.  

Test it out for yourself - the below video is at 350 words per minute.  I expect with some practice you can get faster and more efficient.  Whilst not available in other formats than those listed above (yet another reason for Techno Man to play 'oneupmanship' when it comes to Samsung/Android vs iPhone. I am hoping Apple come out with its version of Spritz.

Read More:

Sprtiz Website - full of interesting details -if you click the box that says 'click to sprtiz' you can try it yourself!! You can even adjust the speed!! (its almost as addicting as Candy Crush - almost)

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