That new generation of smartwatches and small wearable devices supposedly in the offing could be about to get a boost as ereading platforms, no matter how small their form factor. That’s if a new onscreen solution just announced by startup Spritz Inc., and already much publicized (and hyped), delivers on its promise.
With a mission to “change the way people read and make communication faster, easier, and more effective,” Spritz works through technology that focuses reader attention on the so-called “Optimal Recognition Point” within a word, where the human gaze centers to start actually reading and comprehending it. By “allowing you to read without having to move your eyes,” Spritz claims to maximize reading efficiency through the reading technique, which it terms Spritzing, that its technology facilitates. And, the company’s materials add, “Spritzing also enhances reading on small screens. Because the human eye can focus on about 13 characters at a time, Spritzing requires only 13 characters’ worth of space inside our redicle. No other reading method is designed to help you read all of your content when you’re away from a large screen.” If you’re skeptical, Spritz offers demos and videos on its website to prove it.
“When reading, only around 20% of your time is spent processing content,” the company declares. “The remaining 80% is spent physically moving your eyes from word to word and scanning for the next ORP. With Spritz we help you get all that time back.”
Exactly how applicable the system is for reading long texts, let alone books, on smartwatch-size screens isn’t clear from the website. The demo there offers up text one word at a time, certainly at a very enhanced reading speed, but I couldn’t find an indication of how this works in the context of a full page. However, Spritz has big ambitions for its technology, targeting “15 percent of the world’s textual context” read with Spritz by 2016.” (If that could be achieved in an environment like rural India or Africa, I’d be truly impressed.) “Spritz offers a variety of licensing options for the integration with operating systems, applications, wearables, and websites,” the company adds, and reports already indicate that Samsung may be incorporating Spritz solutions in its upcoming smartwatches and devices. It’s also trumpeting the number of potential users who have tried the technology since it was presented at the Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona, citing 1.6 million triers already, alongside bulletins on its latest investors, so it does appear in a hurry to use the one to attract the other.
It may be a little hard to evaluate the objective merits of the solution with all this hype going on. Not to mention that all this talk of speed and efficiency sounds a bit too functionalist, Taylorist, and economically driven to convince a reader that the company has a sincere goal of enhancing deep comprehension and the reading experience at heart.
So case not proven at this stage, but it’s certainly interesting, and very likely to be coming to a screen near you soon. Watch this (13-character) space …
I’d like to try out an e-book reader app using this technology. Wonder how long it will be before they make one?
@Chris, this thing is being lauded on many sites as a way to read a novel in 90 minutes. But I don’t want to read that fast! Not as fun, and imagine how much more I’d have to spend to feed my habit. Nope, I’ll stick with my regular reading speed (which is already pretty fast).
Is anyone else surprised that no one seems to be commenting on this being vaporware? It was launched for 2 devices which aren’t on the market and is not available on any current smartphone, but apparently I am the only one who noticed.
Without anything to test there’s really no way for us to tell whether Spritz is blowing smoke, and that sets off red flags. Until there’s an app i can test, this should be regarded as vaporware.
They do have a demonstrator of the tech on their web site, and on various news stories about it, and it seems to work pretty well in theory. And it certainly would solve the problem of getting distracted and reading the same passage over and over again. Maybe I wouldn’t want to read everything that way, but it looks like it would be a lot more useful than the average e-reader’s “auto scroll” feature, which invariably moves either too slowly or too quickly. When I tried their demonstrator, I was able to read well even at 500 words per minute with no problem.
I expect that they’re making a big deal out of it without any apps precisely because they’re trying to drum up interest in someone licensing it for an app. When you’ve got an approach this avant-garde, it’s understandable people might be a little skeptical.
Chris, what they have on their website is not a demonstrator. For one thing, they’re not showing text in that demo; they’re showing images, so at least one part of the demo is fake. How do we know the rest of the tech works?
They’re showing images of text. I’m not so sure that makes much of a difference. Either way, it’s a word and you read it. The point of the demo is for how easy it is for you to read words shown in that position with that particular letter red, not for how they particularly code it to be done.
The patent is on the technique. I’m sure that it wouldn’t be any harder to code an app to flash X word in Y position with Z letter colored red for W length of time than it would be to code an e-reader or any other app. I imagine that they’re more interested in licensing the technique to some other app developer than they are in developing an app themselves.
Is the Spritz speed reading program available for a desktop computer?
I don’t use tablets, or other hand held devices for reading.
Aside from the two email apps, there’s no Spritz app, per se. Spritz is licensing the tech to developers to integrate into apps.
For example, The Old Reader added this as a reading option: