Spritz Wants to Change How You Read

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
Feb. 26 2014 2:17 PM

Spritz Wants to Change How You Read by Showing You One Word at a Time

reading
A Galaxy S5 and a Gear 2 run the Spritz email app, where you can read your email more quickly by having it delivered one word at a time.

Photos by Spritz.

Reading may seem like a relaxing thing to do, and you may even worry that between Netflix, your email, and your books, you're sitting on the couch too much. But don't be fooled. Reading involves a ton of eye movement, and one app is on a mission to cut that out and turn you from human in repose to statue.

OK, maybe not, but the speed-reading app Spritz does get you through War and Peace faster by showing you one word at a time. "Reading is inherently time consuming because your eyes have to move from word to word and line to line," the company says on its website.

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The idea of helping people read more quickly by displaying one word at a time isn't new. Apps like Velocity and Fast Reader have existed for years (not to mention the pre-smartphone work of Evelyn Wood). The difference is that Spritz centers words on a common point. The goal is that your brain will never be stimulated to request any eye movement whatsoever. Similar apps that show one word at a time keep the words generally centered on your screen, but don't pay as much attention to where the word should be, given its length or shape. Spritz also attempts to optimize for things like maximally legible font.

Spritz is available for license by other companies, like Samsung, which Spritz says will ship the Galaxy S5 and Gear2 with Spritz's email reader preinstalled. Samsung has not confirmed this yet, but the photos above seem to indicate that it's true. Spritz says that it is working on implementing its service for texting, social media, closed captioning, and ebooks and on smartwatches and smartphones, e-readers, and heads-up displays like the one in Google Glass. Now you really can read Dickens without batting an eye.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Lily Hay Newman is lead blogger for Future Tense. Follow her at @lilyhnewman.