A new reading technology has been introduced that promises to make it possible for anyone to complete an entire novel in one sitting. While the average person can digest roughly 220 words per minute (wpm), a type of technology introduced by Boston-based software development firm Spritz, is designed to accelerate that rate to as much as 800 wpm.
While the technology is unique in its approach, at its core it simply accesses the potential which exists naturally within the human brain.
The slowest part of the reading process occurs in the eyes. It takes a considerable amount of time and effort for the human eye to travel from one page to another, while registering every single word. Although the brain is capable of consuming information at nearly lightning-fast clips, the human eye can barely keep up. By eliminating the need for the eye to travel at all, humans can actually increase their wpm exponentially, as Spritz has demonstrated with its latest release.
Within a small window displayed on a screen, no more than 13 characters are shown at any given time. Each word’s optimal recognition point (or ORP), is highlighted in red, making it easier for the brain to recognize the word, even if every letter is not registered.
Rather than having to scan a page, a reader need only look at the small window as the entire page’s content scrolls by. With practice and patience, it’s believed a reader can more than triple his reading speed.
This new reading technology has already found its way into consumers’ hands, in the form of a bookmarklet (able to read any web page), as well as being featured in iPhone and Android apps, including an app aimed to make it easy to complete the entire Bible in a sitting. But will this type of reading technology surpass its initial excitement, and position itself as a mainstay in the market?
Leisurely readers express their doubts and dislike. The technology – they believe – forces the reader to approach a page with a haste and determination not synonymous with the act of reading a novel, short story, or perhaps a news article. While speed reading is convenient, they argue, it doesn’t leave much room for contemplation and pause.
However, there are a fair number of proponents who believe that this technology will drastically change the way humans digest, and convey, information.
In an age where it’s nearly impossible to keep up with information, tools designed to increase productivity are bound to catch fire and stick. Proponents of the speed-reading technology believe that it’ll be useful for more than just a parlor trick. Scanning through emails, business documents, research material and more would no longer consume the better part of a day. The act of reading will become one small faction of the overall goal of increased communication and collaboration.
Still, the notion of watching an entire page’s content fly by in a tiny screen may seem over-whelming at first. While practitioners of the technology have demonstrated increased reading speeds, the question remains – will everyone jump onboard?