Nick Alcazar, General Engineering
Reading lengthy, and sometimes dry pages of text is a daunting task for most people. This is especially relevant in the educational world where chapters of reading are often assigned on a daily, or weekly basis. These assignments are not approached with enthusiasm to say the least, and that is for the brave students who elect to actually complete them. The main complaints are the amount of time these beasts take up, and that there is no guarantee you will understand the reading even if you went through the motions of reading the words. There is a relatively new technology out there that hopes to tackle these problems.
Enter Spritz. Spritz is a “speed reader” technology, and is the backbone for several different applications available on the app store for both Apple and Android. The theory behind the application is that readers spend a majority of their reading time, not reading, but scanning for the next word. Readers often lose their place on the page, jump a line, or get distracted and then need to go over what they have already read again. Lots of wasted time all around. Spritz essentially brings the words to you. The applications display a box and show one word at a time for a split second and move through the body of the text at a speed the user can select and adjust. Spritz also aligns the words so that the user can stare at one place and continually view the “sweet spot” of the word for the most comprehension.
The most appealing claim of the company is that the technology can increase your reading speed by simply adjusting the speed in the box at the bottom right. The idea of cutting reading times in half for anyone is hard to pass up. This technology has its place and is very helpful for certain areas of reading. Following are the positive and negative aspects I have personally found from use.
- Increased speed – This is a big one, probably the biggest one. As a self-proclaimed reader, I will say that it is pretty easy to boost up your personal speed even after only minimal use of the application
- Surprising level of comprehension – At first glance, it is hard to believe that after watching these words fly by, the reader will retain any information. There are studies that show comprehension is actually higher using Spritz than regular reading, but these studies are also conducted by Spritz so do with that what you will. I was personally surprised to find that after using the application, I did remember what I had read.
- Portability / Ease of use – It is hard to find time to sit down and get a book out to read, using Spritz it is nice to be able to knock out a couple pages wherever you have a couple minutes to spare. You don’t always have a book with you, but your trusty phone rarely leaves you.
- Versatility – The application works well with a lot of different eBook files, text bodies, and even webpages.
- Don’t blink – It can be easy to miss a few words and lose yourself while the words fly by. You can pause and backtrack of course but it is not ideal.
- Set at one speed – If you are reading a novel or anything with a lot of names it is not easy to pause on a new name or word and get context clues for comprehension. Also not the easiest to slow down or speed up when levels of excitement in the content vary.
- Staring at one spot – Some people have no problem with it, but I had a little anxiety having to stare at one spot and not be able to look away.
Overall, I would say that if you are reading for basic levels of comprehension and it is something you want to get through quick, this is the application for you. I would even say that you should give it a try in all areas. I don’t see this technology changing the world overnight, but it is a unique and effective idea that is worth a look. Why not? It’s free after all.