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.

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toryd
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?
user99
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.
JNY
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.