Fitbit for the brain: cognitive activity tracker

    Recently, wearable gadgets like Fitbit and FuelBand, which count the number of steps taken and calories burned, have gained great popularity. But in the future, gadgets that track reading activity may become even more popular.

    Kai Kunze of Osaka University (Japan) has developed a “cognitive activity tracker”. It records how many words you read in a day, how often and how quickly you read - and even warns if you read in passing without sufficient concentration.

    “Smart glasses” can even constitute a brief squeeze of documents, with the most important fragments of the text - based on where the gaze stayed the longest.

    Creating such gadgets is possible thanks to the use of gaze trackers. So far, the largest manufacturer of such devices is the Swedish company Tobii Technology, which has developed a set of head-mounted infrared cameras that monitor the movement of the cornea. Cameras integrate with a helmet / glasses, like Google Glass, or mount over a monitor.

    Kunze uses the same method. His group developed software that can calculate the number of words read with an accuracy of 94% and determine the reading speed only by eye movements, writes New Scientist. The program almost perfectly recognizes the type of content - fiction, glossy magazine, newspaper, scientific article or textbook - by determining the layout of the text on the page by eye movements.

    According to the inventor, the collected statistics are useful both for the users themselves to analyze their reading habits, and for publishers of literature, for example, textbooks. The latter can understand which fragments of the book cause the greatest difficulty for readers.

    Generation of an “essay” with important passages is possible if the program knows which particular work is in the hands of the reader and on which page it is open. Such synchronization is carried out wirelessly with a tablet or computer.

    Kai Kunze suggests that technology can be improved in the future. For example, if the user does not understand some fragment of the book or a separate term (for example, a person looks at one word for several seconds), then the electronic book is able to rewrite this fragment of the text, replace the term with a more understandable design, or show reference information.

    Gamers will also like that with new glasses you can aim at your enemies with your eyes.

    Scientists who work in this field are confident in the great potential of technology. They compare smart glasses with the invention of the computer mouse - and predict the same serious changes in computer interfaces. As in the case of the mouse, it is now difficult to imagine what new programs will appear in a decade.

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