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What’s a tachistoscope?

with 4 comments

A tachistoscope is a tool that displays an image for a specific, usually extremely short, amount of time. If you remember the movie, “Lawnmower Man”, you saw the guy using one. I’ve wanted one ever since I saw that movie because I thought it was a great idea.

If I ran Windows XP on my computer, I could have one, because Dan Heard has created an application he calls “Swiftword”:

Swiftword is my version of a text based tachistoscope application. Essentially it is a speed reader – you feed it a text file containing the content you want to memorise, and play the file through at progressively faster speeds. Eventually, your subconscious begins to anticipate the next word before it is even delivered as your memory begins to retain the information. This can be used to help you memorise things like speeches and course notes, and can even assist slow readers to speed up through coaching to avoid sub-vocalising words as you read.

It’s getting good comments so far. If you try it out, let me know in the comments.

Written by Michael DeBusk

May 17th, 2008 at 11:17 pm

4 Responses to 'What’s a tachistoscope?'

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  1. Hmmm…. might be time for some Java 🙂


    21 May 08 at 10:23

  2. I know what you mean. I tried that app (WordUp) and found it rather unappealing, visually speaking. It does the job, though.

    Michael DeBusk

    21 May 08 at 11:45

  3. hmmm, what do you look for in a tachistoscope?… I’ve just discovered Gambas, and since I’m familiar with Visual Basic, there’s no real learning curve…


    23 May 08 at 04:28

  4. Two things I’d like that WordUp doesn’t have:

    1. an attractive interface and
    2. the ability to use something besides a space to delimit “words.”

    The ability to display images would be a bonus.

    Michael DeBusk

    23 May 08 at 11:29

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