This is completely crazy and kind of like something you might see in a science fiction movie or something, except that it’s happening right here right now. Welcome to the future.
It’s a piece of software called Spritz (which is presumably a play on sprint) that has been in development in Boston for over three years and claims to increase your reading speed by up to 500 words per minus. Insane, right?
It succeeds in doing this by ‘manipulating the format of the words to more appropriately line them up with the eye’s natural motion of reading.’ This is performed by finding the Optimal Recognition Point (ORP) of the word, which is slightly to the left of its centre. Apparently this is the precise point that our brain deciphers each jumble of letters into a word that we recognise.
What Spritz manages to do is identify the ORP of each word, highlight it in red, and then present it at the same point on the screen. Therefore when reading a book you would just stare at one point on the screen and the words would pass through this – because the ORP is highlighted it will take you less time to read the word and ergo less time to read the book too. You also don’t have to move your eyes and decode the words yourself, which again serves to save time.
Although that sounds good in practice, I kind of like the idea of lazing around reading a book at my own pace, and being able to stop and do something else or let my mind wander as I choose. Sure, it might not be as efficient but that doesn’t mean it isn’t as fun.
Also, when I tried to look at the 500 words per minute one my brain just melted so maybe that isn’t for everyone. I literally couldn’t comprehend what was happening – even though I was reading most of the words – because it was too fast. Maybe that’s just me though.
I’m sure Spritzer will have its uses – like revising for school exams or reading boring instruction manuals – but I’m not sure it will take over the mass market for reading just yet. Wait and see.
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