Luz Rello

Luz Rello, a post-doctoral fellow at Carnegie Mellon University, was named a Top 10 Spanish Innovators Under 35 this year by the Spanish language version of MIT’s Technology Review.

Rello, who is 29 years old, comes to Carnegie Mellon from five years in Barcelona where she found success in research that aims to make digital text more accessible to people with disabilities, specifically dyslexia.

“My research focuses on using eye-tracking to find out which is the best text design and layout that benefits people with dyslexia, in order to increase the readability and comprehension of the text,” says Rello. “MIT took a special interest in my research that has already been integrated into real tools.”

In Spain, her research has already been used in several applications, including the eBook DysWebxia reader for iOS and the IDEAL reader for Android.

Rello says that she, with the help of two friends, also developed an online game called “Cookie Cloud,” an interactive iOS game for dyslexic children that helps improve their spelling.

Right now the game has versions in both English and Spanish, but Rello is developing versions in German and Catalan. For this, she has reached out to the source to better understand how children’s minds relate to text.

“Families of dyslexic children are sending me the text that their children write,” says Rello. “The next step is to expand the tool so it can be used for all languages.”

Rello is now at Carnegie Mellon to continue her research with the hope of having it integrated within English language systems.

One challenge: the most vital part of her research, collaboration within a participating community, is somewhat lacking due to the fact that she’s only been in Pittsburgh several weeks.

“I’m at the point in my research where I need to have a group of people to collaborate with. I’m hoping to get in touch with schools and families. But I don’t have that community yet,” she says. She remains hopeful. “I think it’s a unique place in the world. I’m excited to be here.”

To learn more or lend a hand in her research, you can contact Luz Rello at her Carnegie Mellon address.

Rebekah Zook

Rebekah Zook is a Duquesne grad and all-around story-telling enthusiast. A former fellow at WESA, she worked as a production assistant for their daily talk show. Most recently, she taught in the Propel Charter School system as a visiting artist. When she isn’t writing, Rebekah is a trip leader for the local non-profit organization Venture Outdoors. You can usually find her in a bright yellow kayak.