Bill Gates' New Idea Would Bring Textbooks to Life
Proposed tech automatically generates video from text
By Ruth Brown, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 14, 2013 12:04 PM CDT
Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates.   (AP Photo/Rod McGuirk)

(Newser) – Bill Gates—and nine others—have filed a patent for an idea that promises to make "dry" textbooks less boring. "Autogenerating Video From Text" proposes to do exactly what it says on the label: a device or program that can read and analyze text, then automatically generate video and images based on what's written. The idea—most likely the result of a brainstorming session by invention company Intellectual Ventures, predicts Geek Wire—is pitched thusly:

  • "According to one contemplated scenario, a student is assigned a reading assignment. To make the assignment more interesting, the student may use his or her mobile phone to take a picture of a page of the textbook. The systems and methods described herein may then generate a synthesized image sequence of the action occurring in the text. Thus, rather than simply reading names and dates, the student may see soldiers running across a battlefield."
Users would also be able to personalize the program. So, in one scenario proposed in the patent, a student studying Shakespeare could watch a scene played out with their family members in place of the normal characters.

View 1 more image
More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Bill Gates' New Idea Would Bring Textbooks to Life is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 50 comments
Aug 14, 2013 10:38 PM CDT
We hear over and over about how students graduate from high school but don't know how to READ. How is this going to help that?
Aug 14, 2013 7:29 PM CDT
I have an idea. Use better books for teaching. I remember refusing to read Shakespeare in school, what a waste of paper.
Aug 14, 2013 7:01 PM CDT
I can see pros an cons. If this technology is limited to texts it may be helpful to students that have trouble with reading or are more visual learners.