Psycho-cybernetic Enhancements

I’m not talking cyborg. There’s a new generation of apps and websites that teach you to function better.

According to this story in Popular Mechanics, UltimEyes will teach your eyes to see farther. The developers claim that your eyesight can be improved to perhaps 7.5/20, nearly three times better than 20/20 vision.

Despite its name, UltimEyes has little to do with improving the physical eye or eye muscles. Rather, the app works by exploiting recent insights into when and how the adult brain can be fundamentally rewired—a concept known as neuroplasticity.

“Within the last decade or so we’ve started to learn that brain fitness is a bit akin to physical fitness,” Seitz says. “If we exercise our brain in the proper ways, pretty much everything that the brain does should be able to be improved.”

And then there’s Spritz. Spritz allows you to read faster, not by changing the way we read but by changing the format of written material. Spritz flashes the written word one at a time in a text box, allowing a reader to perhaps quadruple his reading speed. This eliminates the need for the eye to move across the printed page. Though still in development, a demonstration is available at

And then there’s Lumosity, which proposes developing cognitive skills through a program of games of mental skill, testing one’s short-term memory and problem solving ability. The program is supposed to stave off dementia. At least Lumosity is one plausibly justifiable way to kill five or ten minutes of your excruciatingly painful work day.

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