Reading App Lets You Blaze Through 1,000 Words-per-Minute

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Reading App Lets You Blaze Through 1,000 Words-per-Minute

Spritz Header

An app called Spritz will let people read up to 1,000 words-per-minute, which translates to being able to read an entire novel in just over an hour.

Ever wanted to blaze through your novels and textbooks but find that you can't since you can only read at a certain rate? Well, a new app called Spritz just might help with that. According to the company, Spritz will help people read 250 to 1,000 words-per-minute, which equates to reading an entire Harry Potter novel at just over an hour. The Boston-based company states, "Reading is inherently time consuming because your eyes have to move from word to word and line to line. Traditional reading also consumes huge amounts of physical space on a page or screen, which limits reading effectiveness on small displays. Scrolling, pinching, and resizing a reading area doesn't fix the problem and only frustrates people. Now, with compact text streaming from Spritz, content can be streamed one word at a time, without forcing your eyes to spend time moving around the page. Spritz makes streaming your content easy and more comfortable, especially on small displays. Our "Redicle" technology enhances readability even more by using horizontal lines and hash marks to direct your eyes to the red letter in each word, so you can focus on the content that interests you."

Spritz Inc. claims its tech can be integrated into photos, maps and websites, too. And while we know how traditional ways of reading can be time consuming, just how does the Spritz make us read faster? "The time consuming part of reading lies mainly in the actual eye movements from word to word and sentence to sentence. In addition, traditional reading simply takes up a lot of physical space. Spritz solves both of these problems. First, your eyes do not have to move from word to word or around the page that you're reading. In fact, there's no longer a page - with Spritz you only need 13 total characters to show all of your content. Fast streaming of text is easier and more comfortable for the reader, especially when reading areas become smaller," the company claims.

For reference, a .gif showing what 500 words-per-minute looks like can be seen below, with 1,000 words-per-minute speeds doubling that of what's shown.

image

While using the app might make people read faster, that doesn't necessarily mean they'll understand all the words flashing on screen. But according to a statement from Dr. Maik Mauer, co-founder and CTO of Spritz, "spritzing" does increase a person's comprehension. "Happily, our tests confirmed that spritzing increases comprehension. We're now starting to research whether time spent spritzing will also increase a user's traditional reading speed and comprehension, an effect reported to us by many of our testers," Mauer notes.

Currently, the speed-reading app is set to launch on the upcoming Samsung S5 smartphone and Gear 2 smartwatch; but the company states they are working with other mobile makers, wearable manufacturers and even e-book companies to make the technology more accessible in the future. You can test the app on its official site to see if it works just as the company intended, or you can also check out the open-source implementation or even the Chrome extension that's available.

Personally, I'm all for making people read faster. Hopefully, continually using the app won't make anyone feel dizzy or even nauseous. Can you imagine "spritzing" instead of reading or would you rather take your time when reading something?

Source: PCMag and NeoGAF

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This looks pretty cool, although I'm wondering how much of a headache extended use will induce. I like reading before bed as a way to wind down at the end of the day, but I wonder if the fast pace will prevent that somehow. Still, something to keep an eye on.

I don't believe it'll get you to be able to read 1,000 words a minute (at least not without extensive training), but there does seem to be a remarkable opportunity there.

...

Unless you end up missing words, and having to stop and rewind all the time.

Looks like an interesting software. I like my slow reading tho', blazing through a good book is the last thing that comes to my mind when reading.

I don't know, just with that little gif reading 500 WPM is tricky, that might be 'cos it's new to me but doubling that speed?

Be reading like fucking Johnny 5! I just don't think the brain can be really absorbing that many words, that quickly! You know like when you read a line like 20 times but still have fuck all clue what the 20 lines say.

I would have called bullshit on this if there wasn't that little demonstration in there, which I admit shocked me a bit. It works, though I still have three problems with it:

I can't help but wonder how much eyestrain this would cause on the long run since staring at one point, while obviously cuts down on the wasted time of eye-movement, would probably tire out one's eyes faster than skimming through the pages.

Secondly, I can pretty much already read about 500 words per minute in the "old fashioned way" if I strain myself a little, but at that point I already notice myself slipping and my reading comprehension getting worse and worse with every sentence. Our human brain, and our short-term memory in particular, is just not made for this kind of high-speed retention, and while I think slowly cranking up the speed with a program like this could help with conditioning to achieve better retention rates, I wouldn't hold my breath for the results.

Finally, and maybe most importantly, it think this technology would be the least useful at the most time-consuming texts, such as scientific/legal/technical literature and novels. In the case of the former, actually understanding the text is a lot more important than being able to power-read through it, while in the case of the latter being able to read on your own pace and taking your time to imagine the scenes and act them out in your head is pretty much the point of the entire reading experience, something you cannot do on a "250-1000 words per minute" rate.

That said, I do think this tech has merits and many people will probably find good use for it, but I would take some of its claims about reading comprehension and that "1000 words per minute" claim with a pinch of salt for now.

This would probably work great... until you try to read any fantasy novels filled with bullshit names that already screw with my head. Seeing them flash by in a nanosecond will destroy me.

So judging by the GIF, I can easily do 500 words/minute already.
I've gotta wonder how much of it I could remember if this was something actually interesting though.

I'm seeing some flaws with the example shown above. Mostly that I keep missing small words that appear after big ones for some reason. I can never actually see the word between 'understand' and 'remember'. It is pretty easy to guess the word given the context, but it would still be nice to see it and not make my brain do more work filling in the gaps. Seems like something they should factor into the timings somehow.

It's important to remember that "Reading" comprehending, and enjoying are all separate from each other. I can read well over 500 WPM easily but it isn't enjoyable to do so.

While this reading thing is cool it brings up the question, can the human mind visualize a book or its characters at 1000 words per minute? I don't think I can and at that point it's just like gulping down food and not even tasting it.

this app is genius if you wish to learn how to read faster.
maybe it could be implemented for an online encylopedia so you would get the info fast when you need it.

but replace common reading methods for books? no.

because sometimes a book is so damn good that you have to read the whole chapter or page again just to confirm that "THAT" actually happened in the story.

as for the example.

i managed to read every word up to 500wps.
after that (550-600wps) i overly understood it because my brain filled the smaller words that i didnt get or skipped automatically for me.

brain, you autocomplete me!

rhizhim:
this app is genius if you wish to learn how to read faster.
maybe it could be implemented for an online encylopedia so you would get the info fast when you need it.

but replace common reading methods for books? no.

because sometimes a book is so damn good that you have to read the whole chapter or page again just to confirm that "THAT" actually happened in the story.

as for the example.

i managed to read every word up to 500wps.
after that (550-600wps) i overly understood it because my brain filled the smaller words that i didnt get or skipped automatically for me.

brain, you autocomplete me!

I found that if you glimpse away from the reticle for even a second, you can miss words. In easy sentences like the demonstration, that's fine. Someone has already pointed out that for jargon-heavy texts like scientific articles it might actually cloud comprehension. It's great that I could potentially gallop through one, but I need to come to an understanding of it rather than simply blurt out what I can remember reading.

Also, I'm a technophile but I have never gotten into e-readers. I've tried, but I just prefer the heft and texture of a novel - not to mention the pleasure gained turning the pages and following a good plot. If I'm reading Lord of the Rings I don't want to blaze through it, you need to stop and imagine things, take in descriptions, feel them feelings!

ThreeRingsfortheElven-kingsunderthesky, SevenfortheDwarf-lordsintheirhallsofstone, NineforMortalMendoomedtodie, Oneforthe DarkLordonhisdarkthrone IntheLandofMordorwheretheShadowslie. OneRingtorulethemall, OneRingtofindthem, OneRingtobringthemallandinthedarknessbindthem IntheLandofMordorwheretheShadowslie.

It would completely break the cadence and rhythm of poetry and verse, too. Imagine reading Shakespeare at that speed!

I'm quite interested in this app. To me reading a book is like looking at the sun, the quicker you finish it the better. And I never-ever "visualized" something while reading. So this might be a very efficient way for me to read large amounts of material.

This is actually pretty cool though I don't think it would work for me. Without having a whole page to look at for referencing, I think I would miss a lot of context.

I wonder how much you'd miss by blinking. People (that are not the overly attached girlfriend) blink constantly, so I think you'd be missing a lot of words using this app. Would you even notice?

erbkaiser:
I wonder how much you'd miss by blinking. People (that are not the overly attached girlfriend) blink constantly, so I think you'd be missing a lot of words using this app. Would you even notice?

Try the chrome plugin... :) ~600 you do not notice the losses, but if something's "not right", you can press the left arrow to rewind the text a bit. Also, the space bar stops it.

Use the plugin on a book written in my native language. Was able to read at ~600 WPM and actually fully understand the text (which is >twice my normal speed). This is a truly outstanding idea here! I wish someone actually writes a proper tablet app for this. The chrome plugin doesn't work with tablets/phones and there seems to be some licensing BS going on... :( Thanks corporates...

This Chrome extention you linked is nifty, I've been reading the comments with it. Does feel fast, but it's a little ... bland? Like all the emotion is gone and it's just ... words ... going really fast. Maybe it needs some training.

So I've taken another test, just reading in the normal fashion, and got 600 wpm. Unfortunately the demo on their site only goes to 600 wpm , so I can't learn anything from that :/

One more here to find this pretty nice and exciting for a big set of texts (if not all). I did miss a few words due to blinking already at 500 wpm, at 600 it started to become a problem.

Nothing a "Clockwork Orange"-like device wouldn't help. ;)

Bazaalmon:
This looks pretty cool, although I'm wondering how much of a headache extended use will induce. I like reading before bed as a way to wind down at the end of the day, but I wonder if the fast pace will prevent that somehow. Still, something to keep an eye on.

I saw news of this app on another site a few days ago that had the above gif, as well as two slower ones before it so you could kind of try it out for yourself at varying speeds. Found that after a few minutes of adjustment to this new way of reading, I was actually able to just kind of relax and let it happen. In fact, I'd say it was easier to follow the more I relaxed.

That said, I do think this has it's place, and it may not be the unwind with a good book right before bed place.

kanetsb:

erbkaiser:
I wonder how much you'd miss by blinking. People (that are not the overly attached girlfriend) blink constantly, so I think you'd be missing a lot of words using this app. Would you even notice?

Try the chrome plugin... :) ~600 you do not notice the losses, but if something's "not right", you can press the left arrow to rewind the text a bit. Also, the space bar stops it.

Use the plugin on a book written in my native language. Was able to read at ~600 WPM and actually fully understand the text (which is >twice my normal speed). This is a truly outstanding idea here! I wish someone actually writes a proper tablet app for this. The chrome plugin doesn't work with tablets/phones and there seems to be some licensing BS going on... :( Thanks corporates...

I can see the use for it now, I've read a text I was meaning to anyway. At 500 WPM I was missing too many words so I brought it down to 300, works really well for that.
The only problem I have with it now is that I get a lasting after-image of the box on my retina when I stop reading... took a full minute before it went away.

Still an awesome app. I'm going to be trying it out a lot the weekend, I have books worth of texts I need to go through.

Evil Moo:
I'm seeing some flaws with the example shown above. Mostly that I keep missing small words that appear after big ones for some reason. I can never actually see the word between 'understand' and 'remember'. It is pretty easy to guess the word given the context, but it would still be nice to see it and not make my brain do more work filling in the gaps. Seems like something they should factor into the timings somehow.

Those aren't the flaws, that's how speed-readers read. The small words are fluff. Your mind has the ability to make the connections without them.

On the flipside, however, I prefer to read at a more casual pace. I don't need to read a novel in an hour. It's not fun. I'm fine with sitting back, relaxing on my porch and getting wrapped up in the story.

I normally read faster than most, I'm not really Interested.

I can speed read already and while the embedded gif is slightly faster I occasionally miss concepts, themes and story-points when reading that fast.

Welp, I've always considered myself a moderately fast reader, but just managed to hit the 600wpm speed reasonably comfortably.

Though did get a weird phasing out effect on the corners of my vision.. ...then again normal reading with a book I get two separate images blurring over each other half the time and that slows me down so.. ...yeh, I think for me it actually worked.

The name needs to change though. Spritzing is some idiot with a spray bottle of water spritzing their hair to get it to hold in a silly style.

This doesn't impress me all that much, though I admit the proof-of-concept example works better than I expected. Still, I really can't imagine that this works all that well for textbooks, the one thing I really wish I could read faster (where, in my experience, you have to read a sentence/paragraph, then think about it a bit, then as often as not go back and read it again, then repeat as necessary).

I really don't want to be able to read novels faster. I read them naturally at about a paperback page a minute (maybe 300 wpm, I guess), and if anything I wish I could read them more slowly. It's hard enough to find good books as it is.

Also, unless Harry Potter books clock in at just over 60k words, you aren't reading one in "just over an hour" even at 1000 wpm. Even a short-to-medium length novel will usually clock in at maybe around 80k words, so it's more realistic to claim 2-3 hours even reading at speed.

CrimsonBlack:

rhizhim:
this app is genius if you wish to learn how to read faster.
maybe it could be implemented for an online encylopedia so you would get the info fast when you need it.

but replace common reading methods for books? no.

because sometimes a book is so damn good that you have to read the whole chapter or page again just to confirm that "THAT" actually happened in the story.

as for the example.

i managed to read every word up to 500wps.
after that (550-600wps) i overly understood it because my brain filled the smaller words that i didnt get or skipped automatically for me.

brain, you autocomplete me!

I found that if you glimpse away from the reticle for even a second, you can miss words. In easy sentences like the demonstration, that's fine. Someone has already pointed out that for jargon-heavy texts like scientific articles it might actually cloud comprehension. It's great that I could potentially gallop through one, but I need to come to an understanding of it rather than simply blurt out what I can remember reading.

Also, I'm a technophile but I have never gotten into e-readers. I've tried, but I just prefer the heft and texture of a novel - not to mention the pleasure gained turning the pages and following a good plot. If I'm reading Lord of the Rings I don't want to blaze through it, you need to stop and imagine things, take in descriptions, feel them feelings!

ThreeRingsfortheElven-kingsunderthesky, SevenfortheDwarf-lordsintheirhallsofstone, NineforMortalMendoomedtodie, Oneforthe DarkLordonhisdarkthrone IntheLandofMordorwheretheShadowslie. OneRingtorulethemall, OneRingtofindthem, OneRingtobringthemallandinthedarknessbindthem IntheLandofMordorwheretheShadowslie.

It would completely break the cadence and rhythm of poetry and verse, too. Imagine reading Shakespeare at that speed!

yes, for enjoying literature this app is crap.
but it helps you learn how to read faster.

the biggest problem with e readers is how they handle the movement and feel to navigate throught their product i.e a digitalized book.

and i am quite shocked they didnt improve it already.

with a book, turning the pages gives you a heptik feedback with the additional bonus that you have a clear break and re entry point into the text. the text ends and it continues on the next page. clean and simple.

with most e readers you scroll up and all the lines become fuzzy for a second, it suffers the same problems you have with reading longer texts on your pc.

this second already has the potential to disturb the reader so much that they tend to lose their orientation in the text. they have to invest more time to re orientate themselves by reading some lines again and determine if they already read it or not, if this was their break and re-entry point or not.
of course, this can become so tedious that people tend to lose interest in a text and never finish it.

experienced readers might highlight words with their mouse to orientate themselves better, but that is barely possible on e readers.

this is my theory why e readers "suck" in comparison with books. there are of course other points why they cant reach the quality of having a text in book form(smell, feeling of texture, feeling of ownership), but i think this is the biggest hinderance about e readers today.

I already read pretty fast, so I'm fine with not using it.

To any student that has to do a book report, though? I'm sure for them, this is a godsend.

Wow lot's of fast readers here.
I don't see this being used for story books where the point is to take your time but it might be useful for technical texts or perhaps something that's required to be read in a short amount of time.
Now as to whether it'll work or not, I can see it varying from person to person.
Some can probably stay focused for a long time while others might drift off. Still, looks neat

It's neat but I have to echo some of the above sentiments, namely that I can't imagine any actual use for it. It ruins reading for pleasure, and difficult things like textbooks require a lot more re-reading and stopping to absorb information anyway.

Seriously, this would allow you to quickly read gossip news I suppose, but little else.

So... It will make me read twice as fast than how I do now? Okay...

Too bad I would only want to do it to novels I've already read before... because doing something like this with a first-read novel doesn't sound that awesome in practice...

Dammit! Can you rewind back a couple hundred words? I think I found a typo [or was that just a name spelled weirdly] in the overall text!

It may have some uses like reading mail and news or things that do not require a lot of imagination or thinking about what are you reading, but reading a 1000 page novel in few hours, pointless you will get no experience. Imagine one of those wordy descriptions of some beautiful/scary place in a fantasy novel and imagine going through it in 3 seconds and then immediately moving on without a pause to think or imagine.

well i read primarily for pleasure or big legal contracts where taking your time and going back and seeing the whole lot in context is a must so this is going to be fairly useless to me unless i want to grab heaps and heaps of fluff information so i can lord how much i know over other people though i did not have much of an issue with the 500 WPM gif in the article
but yeah i read for fun so charging through a novel in an hour is going to bee too fast hell i burnt through a 18 book series too fast on my kindle as it is im stuck waiting for the next book to come out

rhizhim:

yes, for enjoying literature this app is crap.
but it helps you learn how to read faster.

the biggest problem with e readers is how they handle the movement and feel to navigate throught their product i.e a digitalized book.

and i am quite shocked they didnt improve it already.

with a book, turning the pages gives you a heptik feedback with the additional bonus that you have a clear break and re entry point into the text. the text ends and it continues on the next page. clean and simple.

with most e readers you scroll up and all the lines become fuzzy for a second, it suffers the same problems you have with reading longer texts on your pc.

this second already has the potential to disturb the reader so much that they tend to lose their orientation in the text. they have to invest more time to re orientate themselves by reading some lines again and determine if they already read it or not, if this was their break and re-entry point or not.
of course, this can become so tedious that people tend to lose interest in a text and never finish it.

experienced readers might highlight words with their mouse to orientate themselves better, but that is barely possible on e readers.

this is my theory why e readers "suck" in comparison with books. there are of course other points why they cant reach the quality of having a text in book form(smell, feeling of texture, feeling of ownership), but i think this is the biggest hinderance about e readers today.

All of these issues depend on the e-reader. In fact, I actually prefer reading e-books on my tablet's reader program especially since it doesn't scroll but have separate pages, no fuzzy fonts, etc.
Sure, having an actual physical book is still very nice, but e-books are much more convenient in many ways, so in the end it usually comes down to individual preference. I would say they are no way inferior to printed books, but each to their own, I suppose.

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