When BJ Fogg was head of U.S. research at Casio in the late 1990s, he wanted to use a technology commonly used for speed reading to deliver content to watches and other devices.
Casio never embraced the idea. But Fogg is getting a second chance. Now director of research and design at Stanford University’s Persuasive Technology Lab, Fogg is leading a research team that is testing the same technology – known as RSVP – to easily present large amounts of text on tiny mobile phone screens.
This is not pie-in-the-sky stuff. His researchers have an entrepreneurial hunger, Fogg says. The lab’s created a public service called BuddyBuzz that anyone with the right mobile phone can use. And the team is studying the commercial feasibility of the technology.
“We think there’s definitely commercial potential for delivering text content to mobile phones and we’re exploring some of those options,” he said. “There are members of the team who would love to spin this out to a company.”
But first, more about the technology.
Even with newer mobile de�vices with larger screens, the amount of text that can be displayed at any one time is limited, forcing people to scroll or tab from paragraph to paragraph or page to page.
BuddyBuzz’s technology largely avoids those issues. RSVP – for rapid serial visual presentation – quickly flashes words on a screen one at a time. The streaming process lets you stare at the screen and just absorb the text, without having to shift your eyes back and forth. The technology also allows the typeface size of text to be larger because just word at a time is on the screen.