A new way of reading is coming and with it the potential of tipping the scale of public preference towards reading tablets, such as the Kindle, and away from the traditional book. It’s called Text 2.0 and is the exciting brainchild of Ralf Biedert, Georg Buscher, Andreas Dengel and the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence, DFKI.
Text 2.0 tracks eye movement and can follow along with the text you are reading. Some of the features include but are not limited to: displaying graphics that correspond to the text as it is read, defining unfamiliar words, translating foreign words, detecting if you are skimming the text and fading out nonessential filler, and helping you find your place again if you happen to look away.
The beauty is that it does all this in a very intuitive way; there are no buttons to press and no toolbar to monkey with, all you need is to read and it figures out the rest. You can even ask it simple questions, like how to pronounce a word. It does everything but read the text for you, at least not that I could see.
I would love to get my hands on one of these to see if it enhances the reading experience or if all the bells and whistles are too distracting. This has the potential to become a fabulous educational tool for all ages; kids would react well to the interactive graphics, adults would appreciate the word help and streamlining features.
I do cringe at yet another power-driven battery operated device meant to replace something as simple and as elegant as a book. As I write, a story idea about a dystopia where books have all been replaced with files starts to emerge. It would make it too easy for a higher power to meddle with the information the public could access. Maybe I should file that idea somewhere…
Here is the official demo for Text 2.0:
Check out their website, click here.