Major payoffs can sometimes be gained by adding continuous, real-time interaction to content that has been conventionally understood in a static or sequential way—payoffs like interface transparency, high information bandwidth, effortless feedback, and harnessing users' ability to act and learn through physical manipulation.
Tertl has deep experience in real-time control and interaction, developing sensor-based data tools, arcade-style games, mathematical learning environments, real-time robotics and programming tools, and responsive user interfaces. Recently we have brought the real-time perspective to helping kids learn to read.
The system of English spelling, with its many different ways that letters can correspond to sounds, is by far the most complex content children encounter in elementary school. In school, letter sounds are treated like units. Students are taught to read cat by noting that c says "kuh", a says "aa," and t says "tuh." Recognizing words from these artificially chopped-up sounds is called "blending," and is a known sticking point for many young readers.
Tertl has created a very different approach based on real-time control that lets children interact with the word as a continuous utterance that unfolds over time. Using Tertl's Letterfinger™ interface, a child can sound out a word by dragging a finger along its letters. On the tablet screen, the written word becomes a kind of musical instrument that can be used to "play" the spoken word with varied pacing. The sounds of individual letters can be isolated, but they can also also be blended.
Tertl is open to partnerships for development of this technology. A patent is pending.