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Computers

New software will let you skim this article even quicker

It's an unfortunate fact of life for web writers … people viewing text online tend to skim through it, as opposed to reading each and every word. With that in mind, researchers at Finland's Aalto University have created a program that lets people skim even faster, while retaining more information.Read More

Science

System scrolls text in time with user's reading speed

It may indeed be a First World problem, but using a mouse or arrow key to scroll through blocks of computer text is a bit of a hassle – particularly for people lacking the use of their ams. That's why scientists from Germany's Saarland University and the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence have developed a sort of teleprompter-like system, which automatically scrolls text at the rate that it's being read. Read More

Flipboard makes a move to the desktop

Since its launch on the iPad in December 2010, Flipboard has become one of the most successful apps for aggregating content from social networks and websites and presenting it in an intuitive, personalized magazine-style format on mobile devices. It is now looking to replicate its success on the desktop with the announcement of its first foray onto desktops.Read More

Good Thinking

Global Learning XPrize offers $15 million to tackle illiteracy in the developing world

Having tasked technologists with challenges as diverse as Ted Talkin' artificial intelligence and bringing Star Trek's iconic tricorder to life, XPrize has now turned its attention to an equally ambitious task. Millions of children around the globe don't have basic literacy skills, presenting a problem that cannot be solved without some big picture thinking. Launching today, the Global Learning XPrize offers US$15 million in prize money for the development of software that teaches children these vital skills in the space of 18 months, without the presence of a teacher. Read More

Good Thinking

Low-cost reading system enables visually impaired to hear graphical content

From a contact lens that delivers tactile sensations to the cornea, to a 3D-printed ring that reads text aloud in real-time, advances in technology have opened up some groundbreaking ways for the visually-impaired to consume printed content. Researchers from Australia's Curtin University have now unveiled a low-cost reading device that processes graphical information, enabling the blind to digest documents such as bills, PDFs, graphs and bank statements.Read More

Wearables

FingerReader helps visually impaired read in real-time

Our age-old instinct to point at things we'd like to know more about has inspired a device that assists the visually impaired consume written text. FingerReader is a 3D-printed device that is worn as a ring on the index finger and uses a built-in camera and haptic actuators to read aloud as the user traces lines of printed words.Read More

Mobile Technology

Spritz reader: Getting words into your brain faster

Static blocks of text like the one you’re looking at now are an antiquated and inefficient way to get words into your head. That’s the contention of Boston-based startup Spritz, which has developed a speed-reading text box that shows no more than 13 characters at a time. The Spritz box flashes words at you in quick succession so you don’t have to move your eyes around a page, and in my very quick testing it allowed me to read at more than double my usual reading pace. Spritz has teamed up with Samsung to integrate its speed reading functionality with the upcoming Galaxy S5 smartphone.Read More

Mobile Technology Review

Review: Kobo Aura HD e-reader

A few months ago, we sat down to compare the top e-readers released in the past year and find out which would work best for our avid readers out there. Naturally, the latest Kindles and Nooks scored high marks, but surprisingly the one device that stood out was the Kobo Aura HD. Kobo isn't exactly the first name that comes to mind when people think of e-readers, but after spending some extensive hands-on time with the Aura HD, we see an argument for that to change.Read More

Science

A good book can change your life ... and your brain

Stories, whether fact or fiction, are at the heart of human culture. A strong narrative can resonate with your personality and experiences, and help set a framework for your future. "That book changed my life" is a cherished maxim. So can a book change your brain too? A recent study led by Emory University's Gregory Berns has demonstrated that reading a novel produces physical changes in the brain similar to those that would result from living as one or more of the characters.Read More

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