March 14, 2014
Read A Novel In An Hour With New App
Ever hated reading books but do it to feel intellectual? Only read on vacation because that’s what you’re supposed to do but actually just want to go for a swim? Okay, maybe not. But the new app from Spritz intends to increase the speed at which we are able to read by tailoring their technology to how our eyes and brain work. This will be useful to people who do want to get reading done quickly whether because it is a burden or so they can read more of what they love.
The Huffington Post says that the app will enable us to read at speeds of between 250 and 1000 words per minute, whereas a typical college-level reader reads at a speed of between 200 and 400 a minute. This means, to use their example, that all 309 pages of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone could be read in under 77 minutes. You can try the app for yourself on the Huffington Post page, testing your ability to read at 250 and 500 words per minute.
I personally found 500 words a little too quick at this stage. I could understand what the message was perfectly well, and catch almost all of the words, but found that there were one or two words I felt I hadn’t seen at all, and had to fill them in using the context of the rest. However, Spritz say that we can get more used to reading at those speeds with practice, the more we use the technology. It is to be hoped, because the maximum is double the one I struggled with, at 1000 WPM! There is apparently no visual trial we can look at for this top speed yet (possibly because people will think it is too fast and dismiss it, before realizing that they need to build up to it?)
The technology works by utilizing the eye’s “Optimal Recognition Point” or ORP. This is also known as a “fixation point.” This is immediately to the left of the center of each word we read, according to Kevin Larson from Microsoft’s Advanced Reading Technologies team. Spritz highlights the ORP by making it red, and positions the words so that our eyes don’t have to move. In such a way, the words are delivered to our eye as efficiently as possible. Other speed reading technologies have been on the market for a while, but without such specific optimization techniques.
This is not to mention the fact that we don’t need to scroll or turn pages – the more obvious advantages of speed reading technology.
For those of us who love reading as a hobby, this sort of idea is probably going to be divisive, with some enjoying the fact that it enables them to read more books, while others like the more traditional experience. For studying or getting through documents and information for our work, though, this has to be a pretty good idea.
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