Welcome the Reading Overlord: 1963 Robot Reading Helper

Why rely on your puny human reading abilities when you’re perusing your favorite novel or today’s newspaper? Robots are clearly better equipped to tell you how quickly you should be reading. This fantastically Soviet-looking device is called the Readamatic; it was designed to help you increase your reading speed by revealing a line of text at a time.

The Readamatic was created in 1963 and features knobs to adjust the words revealed per minute and the size of the text on the page. According to one guy who was lucky enough to try this beast out, the sound of the metal plate scraping on the page is a bit distracting. The slightly-intimidating “helpful” device obviously never made it big since we don’t all own one, but it’s a fabulous piece of gadget history nonetheless.

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See more in Epic Failures or under Vintage & Retro. December, 2010.