Introducing Spritz: How Will Speed Reading Affect Assistive Technology?

By Brittany Lehane March 12, 2014

 

There’s a lot of buzz about a new type of software designed to increase the speed of reading. Boston-based startup Spritz has developed software that completely changes the way we read. The software is a textbox that flashes words at you from speeds of 250-500 words per minute. The idea behind it is while we read, our eyes are busy moving all around the page. Spritz eliminates that possibility by flashing one word at a time. They claim this improves retention and speed. After my first thought of how cool this was, my SLP brain jumped to thinking about my students and if this technology could help them.

Check out the video above to learn more about how Spritz works.

More about Spritzing

“Spritzing” is a term used by the company as an alternative to reading.  The pictures below show what the text boxes look like. They show one word at a time and allow users to change the speed. Because the company is so new, Spritz isn’t available everywhere yet. The company says they are working on licensing the tech

Spritz Textbox

A picture of the Spritz textbox

nology to bring it to the people. Currently, they have teamed with Samsung to release Spritz on the Galaxy S5 phone which will be available in April. After that, they are looking into putting the technology into smart watches and Google glassware. As an SLP, I am most interested in when it will be available for e-readers, tablets, and more mobile phones. According their website, Spritz is rolling out an iOS API soon, so hopefully we’ll see the technology included in iPad apps moving forward.

As far as computers go, there is already similar technology out there. Spreed is an application for Chrome browsers which uses the same text box reading technique as Spritz, where one word is flashed at a time.

Implications for AT

Thinking about the types of students I work with leads me to many questions about Spritz. Would it help reading comprehension for students who have trouble understanding what they read? What about retention- does this help kids hold on to what they’ve read? Could this aid people with dyslexia? What about globally delayed students?

Because this software wasn’t designed intentionally for people with disabilities, some changes would need to be made to help our students. The speed would need to be slowed way down. If it had text to speech capabilities and read the words out loud as it flashed in the text box that could be very helpful. I want to test out Spreed on a computer screen to see if it helps any of my students read. It can be set to different speeds and the colors can be inverted. This could help people who are visually impaired or highly distracted students. I’m anxious to try out Spritz on a computer as well. I don’t have the answers to these questions right now but I think it’s fascinating to think about.

How about you? Any ideas on how we can adapt speed reading technology like Spritz and Spreed for our Students? I’m sure there’s some clever people out there that will figure out a way.


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