The New Technology That Can Double or Triple Your Reading Speed

June 4, 2014

In a time when the number of non-book readers has tripled since the ’70s, a startup company hopes to revolutionize the way readers interact with books. Though e-books seem to be the new trend, the Association of American Publishers claims that e-book sales were flat or in decline for most of 2013. It seems books struggle to keep up with evolving media. According to Russ Grandinetti, Vice President of Amazon Kindle content, “Most people walk around with some kind of device or have access to some kind of device that allows them to choose how to use their time. In a world with that much ubiquitous choice, books need to continue to evolve to compete for someone’s time and interest.”

This is where Spritz, a Boston-based start-up, hopes to make the difference. The idea is to make reading easier and faster by having single words flash rapidly, better holding reader attention. With Spritz, words are also flashing faster than the rate most people read, and so, in theory, more reading is done in far less time. Its founder and CEO Frank Waldman compares it to the experience of running on a treadmill versus outdoors, “You go out on the road and you have to watch out for road conditions, weather conditions. It’s up and downhill and much harder to do,” Waldman says. “When reading on the printed [or e-book] page, I feel distracted by all the other things around it. I have to swipe and swipe. It’s not as easy as settling in and having words stream to the brain.”

The secret to how Spritz enhances and speeds up the reading process is in the use of “optimal recognition point”. Words are positioned on the display in a way that keeps one red letter (the optimal recognition point) steady so the eye doesn’t have to move and pages don’t even have to be turned or swiped. The positioning of the words saves wasted time scanning for the optimal recognition point of the next word to be read. According to preliminary studies, comprehension is retained at up to 400 words per minute. At that rate, The Catcher in the Rye could be read in three hours and four minutes. The project already has 20,000 registrants signed up to receive a software development kit but is still under development.

You can see for yourself how fast you are capable of reading, on Spritz's website.


Source:  The Washington Post

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