Spritz: Boston startup taps into need for speed-reading

Spritz Co-founder and CEO Frank Waldman displays the speed-reading technology. PHOTO BY NICOLAUS CZARNECKI/METRO
Spritz Co-founder and CEO Frank Waldman displays the speed-reading technology. PHOTO BY NICOLAUS CZARNECKI/METRO

A Boston-based tech startup wants to get a billion people reading at speeds they never thought possible, and starting next week, readers will get their first taste of the swift technology.

Text streaming technology Spritz works by placing words exactly where the brain wants them to be located, allowing users of websites, apps and wearable devices to absorb words at rates of up to 1,000 per minute.

“Just go in the subway, or to a bar – half the people are sitting there looking at their phones. So I totally see people consuming more information on the go,” said Frank Waldman, CEO and co-founder of Spritz, which offers licensing options for integration of the technology.

How it works

Reading content is flashed before the user with the optimal recognition point located at the specific place where users are already looking, allowing them to read without having to move their eyes. The technique is called rapid serial visual presentation.

Typically, 20 percent of reading time is spent processing content; 80 percent is spent physically moving the eyes from word to word. Spritz flashes up to thirteen characters at a time, eliminating the time spent on eye movement.

Users can adjust their rate of speed to anywhere between 100 words per minute and 1,000 words per minute.

To put it in perspective, humans generally speak at a rate of about 150 words per minute.

A need for speed

An associate professor in Munich, Spritz co-founder Maik Maurer was inspired to develop a prototype three years ago to help him tackle mountains of reading material.

“I was amazed that I could keep up with it at triple my reading speed. I thought, this is something we can probably stick into mobile phones, and websites, especially mobile sites,” said Waldman.

Tests conducted by the company have shown an increase of reading comprehension up to 400 words per minute. After that, comprehension decreases.

EBooks are controlled by distributors, and books are put into a format that makes it difficult to Spritz, Waldman said, so the company plans to work on making the technology available to users looking to blast through novels.

“The problem is, nobody has enough time,” he said. “So you won’t read unless you can read. And I think when you see people always looking at their phones it’s because they want to read, wherever they are. This technology allows them to do that.”

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBOS



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Drive charged in fatal hit and run, police…

The NYPD has arrested a man they say is responsible for a fatal hit and run in Manhattan last weekend. Doohee Cho, 33, was hit…

Local

Mayor de Blasio raises minimum wage for some…

Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an executive order Tuesday morning that will raise the minimum wage for workers employed by private companies that receive more…

National

3 myths about the working poor

Linda Tirado works to debunk some common stereotypes about the working poor in her new book, "Hand to Mouth."

Money

Lawsuit funding advances: friend or foe?

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article Many plaintiffs awaiting resolution of their lawsuit or legal claim often find themselves in a tricky financial…

Going Out

Which NYC restaurant lost its three-star Michelin rating?

A record 73 restaurants in New York City collected coveted Michelin stars on Tuesday as a mix of trendy spots and fine-dining stalwarts underscored the…

Entertainment

Interview: Metro chats with filmmaker Meir Kalmanson, man…

A New York filmmaker hands out smiles to its residents.

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, Sept. 30: 'Selfie,' 'Utopia'…

'Selfie' This modern day take on the "My Fair Lady" story stars John Cho in the Henry Higgins role. Perhaps instead of "the rain in…

Music

Can't-miss weekend events continue to attract the masses

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article Earlier this summer, the Firefly Music Festival drew crowds of tens of thousands of people to Dover, Delaware.…

MLB

Mets 2014 report card

The Mets wrapped up their eight straight season without a playoff appearance last weekend. Needless to say, they fell a bit short of general manager…

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Packers, Ravens, Chargers climb

NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Packers, Ravens, Chargers climb

NFL

Ryan Quigley making a big impact for Jets…

Ryan Quigley, now in his second year as the Jets punter, had an exceptional afternoon with six punts for an average of 51.7 yards per punt.

NFL

3 positives to take from Jets loss to…

The Jets suffered another loss Sunday — 24-17 to the Lions — but the reason why it hurts so much for Jets fans is that…

Style

Products that support breast cancer awareness and research

Asics GT-1000, $100 Asics’ third pink collection in collaboration with Christina Applegate’s Right Action for Women includes this pink-accented version of its best-selling GT-1000 3…

Wellbeing

Dr. Marisa Weiss: Where we stand on breast…

As an oncologist and a survivor herself, Dr. Marisa Weiss knows the urgency felt by those diagnosed with breast cancer. Genetic testing has accelerated the…

Wellbeing

Bees' stingers hold new hope for cancer cure

A promising new lead in the search for a cancer cure has turned up in a place that most people naturally avoid. A team from…

Home

Emily Henderson on small space design

Design expert Emily Henderson shows us how to upgrade our cramped quarters.