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    Rapid Sequential Visual Display

This time we shall talk about a text display technique called RSVD (Rapid Sequential Visual Display). It would display one word at a time, in large type on a screen at rates up to 1600 words per minute. It uses the part of the brain normally used for speech instead of the part used for reading. This enables slow readers to speed-read without training. How about this as an add-in for browsers?

There is a product available at http://www.halycon.com/chigh/vortex.html . A company called Texas Software Engineering (800-966-1686) offers Vortex 2.0 at $39.95 product that reads documents to the screen one word at time. Also Version 1.0 of the program is posted in the library of the AIExpert forum on the CompuServe.

Vortex is well named, because using it is not unlike driving into snowfall at night with your headlights on. You feel as if youíre moving into the words or that the words are washing over you. The big difference in reading with Vortex is that you read every word, but at a much higher pace than usual. In normal reading, you typically skip up to 40 percent of the words, either reading them as word phrases or simply gliding over them. In speed reading, you learn to skip even more words.

The programís creator Cliff High, says that Version 2.0 has many significant improvements, including color controls and subtle feaures that such as small random pauses to break up the steady flashing of words on the screen so as not to trigger seizures in epileptics. High says the program is well-known in the paraplegic community because people who use a mouthstick or a puff control need only turn the program on and off and donít have to fiddle continually with scroll bars and page-down keys.

The Vortex offers fertile new ground for research. If I could move through the incredible pile of e-mail faster of absorb more from all the publications I read online, Iíd be a happy camper. Maybe the next version of Vortex should be a Netscape/IE helper application.

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