A new text-streaming technology is set to revolutionise the way we read work documents, emails and e-Books with a speed reading facility of up to 1,000 words per minute - meaning you could read The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (at 311 pages) in under three hours.
The technology used by the folks at Boston-based start-up company Spritz allows you to speed read by flashing up one word at a time. The thinking behind this is that the time-consuming part of reading comes from moving your eyes from word to word and sentence to sentence.
Added to that is the actual physical space taken up by words and sentences.
The Spritz technology aims to eliminate both problems by flashing up words one by one, at speed. We read at an average of 220 words per minute, so even the lowest Spritz reading will let you up that rate to 250 words per minute. You can go up beyond that to 350 words per minute and even 500 words per minute (concentration is the key here).
This is the highest setting available to trial, although many "Spritzers" are already reading at over 1,000 words a minute. At this speed, you could read a novel of over 1,000 pages - like War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy - in around 10 hours. A larger book such as The Bible would still take around 13 hours to read.
Currently, Spritz is working to develop its technology on mobile phones (it is being released on Samsung devices) and for emails, digital books, e-readers, TV commentary and smart watches.
The company says it is in talks with a number of providers and its plans are ambitious; it wants to see 15% of the world's textual content being read by Spritz technology by 2016.
Low setting: 250 words per minute
Medium setting: 350 words per minute
Fast setting: 500 words per minute
The technology has far-reaching consequences for how we work and read in the future, but its developers recommend starting off fairly slowly.
"We’ve found that it’s best to start people in the 200-250wpm range for their first spritzing experience," a statement on their website reads. "It can be intimidating to try spritzing faster than you normally read on your first try – kind of like being thrown out of a moving car and being told, ‘Run!’
"Also, we have found absolutely no correlation between your initial spritzing speed and your intelligence level – take it easy to start, and you’ll go much faster in a much shorter time."
Put your skills to the test with the various Spritz reading speeds above and scroll down to watch a video of CEO Frank Waldman explaining how the technology can be used on a smart watch.
Let the speed read revolution commence!
Watch the CEO of Spritz explain how the technology will reinvent mobile reading, one word at a time:
What do you think? Would you use a speed read device such as this or do you prefer reading the old-school way? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter
Words: Anna Brech, Photos: Rex Features and Spritz