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Old 03-28-2010, 10:02 AM   #1
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Eye-Tracking Tablets and the Promise of Text 2.0

Here is an interesting article I found about how the future of e-reading could be.
(Watch the video to see how it could work.)

http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2010/...se-of-text-20/

Quote:
What if those written words were watching you reading them and making adjustments accordingly? Eye-tracking technology and processor-packed tablets promise to react, based on how you’re looking at text — where you pause, how you stare, where you stop reading altogether — in a friction-reducing implementation of the Observer Effect. The act of reading will change what you are reading.
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Old 03-28-2010, 10:19 AM   #2
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I guess I'd have to put a piece of tape over the camera.
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Old 03-28-2010, 10:22 AM   #3
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Technology like this coupled with the invasive monitoring that the Kindle provides really sets things up for Big Brother. Amazon would not only know what books you read, but what parts you find interesting. The 'skimming' feature shown at the end reminds me very much of new speak. I'm not at all certain that these are desirable features.

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Old 03-28-2010, 10:55 AM   #4
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Meh

Web ads are cheap and ubiquitous, and tech like this isn't going to significantly improve click-through rates. Getting an ad to nudge over by an inch on screen, or whatever ridiculous gimmick they add, isn't going to change that.

And although people are less worried about privacy than they used to be, I'm pretty sure people would flip out if their web browser turned on their webcam, without their knowledge and/or permission, in order to observe their reading and surfing habits.

This tech seems dead in the water. Like most of what Wired has reported on for the past 17 years or so.
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Old 03-28-2010, 11:12 AM   #5
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I actually thought it was an early April Fool!
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Old 03-28-2010, 01:38 PM   #6
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I haven't got the bandwidth at the moment to view the video so apologies if this is in there.

I'm none too sure about the advanced features suggested, but it would be neat if the device could spot when I'd reached the bottom of a page and then do the page turn automatically. (Not just glancing at the bottom of the page, but having registered that I had scanned the previous lines and so was ready to move on.)

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Old 03-28-2010, 01:46 PM   #7
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It is kind of telling that they invoke 'iPad' as if it were some harbinger of 'Text 2.0'. It seems they're just throwing in this random reference to make their ideas seem more credible. It doesn't have a camera, at least in this iteration. But surely this technology would be useful for disabled people who have physical challenges in reading. We'll have to keep an eye out, so to speak, for the Orwellian applications. <g>

And I do agree that the act of reading will change in fundamental ways. In its current form, visual presentation of text is a lot of work for the eyes/brain to deal with. Quite possibly there are ways in which sensory intake of information can be 'enhanced' and made more efficient - if not eventually bypassed altogether (using some sort of electronic brain induction à la The Matrix).

I have been meaning to read 'Reading in the Brain' by Stanislaus Dehaene, which deals with some of this.
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Old 03-28-2010, 07:33 PM   #8
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The amount of markup and scripting that would need to be added to the text on a sentence-by-sentence basis is prodigious. Formatting an individual book to make use of this would take weeks and cost thousands or tens of thousands.

The eye-tracking tech may make the interaction a little more fluid, but the rest of it is pretty standard stuff and could be done without any fancy hardware on the web right now. It's not done simply because it would be astronomically costly.

In a nutshell: cool tech demo of a solution looking for a problem.
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