That new generation of smartwatches and small wearable devices supposedly in the offing could be about to get a boost as ereading platforms, no matter how small their form factor. That’s if a new onscreen solution just announced by startup Spritz Inc., and already much publicized (and hyped), delivers on its promise.
With a mission to “change the way people read and make communication faster, easier, and more effective,” Spritz works through technology that focuses reader attention on the so-called “Optimal Recognition Point” within a word, where the human gaze centers to start actually reading and comprehending it. By “allowing you to read without having to move your eyes,” Spritz claims to maximize reading efficiency through the reading technique, which it terms Spritzing, that its technology facilitates. And, the company’s materials add, “Spritzing also enhances reading on small screens. Because the human eye can focus on about 13 characters at a time, Spritzing requires only 13 characters’ worth of space inside our redicle. No other reading method is designed to help you read all of your content when you’re away from a large screen.” If you’re skeptical, Spritz offers demos and videos on its website to prove it.
“When reading, only around 20% of your time is spent processing content,” the company declares. “The remaining 80% is spent physically moving your eyes from word to word and scanning for the next ORP. With Spritz we help you get all that time back.”
Exactly how applicable the system is for reading long texts, let alone books, on smartwatch-size screens isn’t clear from the website. The demo there offers up text one word at a time, certainly at a very enhanced reading speed, but I couldn’t find an indication of how this works in the context of a full page. However, Spritz has big ambitions for its technology, targeting “15 percent of the world’s textual context” read with Spritz by 2016.” (If that could be achieved in an environment like rural India or Africa, I’d be truly impressed.) “Spritz offers a variety of licensing options for the integration with operating systems, applications, wearables, and websites,” the company adds, and reports already indicate that Samsung may be incorporating Spritz solutions in its upcoming smartwatches and devices. It’s also trumpeting the number of potential users who have tried the technology since it was presented at the Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona, citing 1.6 million triers already, alongside bulletins on its latest investors, so it does appear in a hurry to use the one to attract the other.
It may be a little hard to evaluate the objective merits of the solution with all this hype going on. Not to mention that all this talk of speed and efficiency sounds a bit too functionalist, Taylorist, and economically driven to convince a reader that the company has a sincere goal of enhancing deep comprehension and the reading experience at heart.
So case not proven at this stage, but it’s certainly interesting, and very likely to be coming to a screen near you soon. Watch this (13-character) space …