This MIT App Lets Users Learn Vocabulary in a 'Micro Minute'

Maximize your time


A person holding using a smartphone with one hand

(Leika production /

What if we could make good use of our time while we’re refreshing our instagram page, or waiting for messages to appear on our phone?

Researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) wanted everyone to take advantage of these moments and find a way to turn them into learning opportunities.

That’s why they created WaitSuite, a series of apps that tests users on vocabulary words when we find ourselves waiting for something to load on your phone or connect to wifi.

WaitSuite covers five common daily tasks: waiting for WiFi to connect, emails to push through, instant messages to be received, an elevator to come, or content on your phone to load.

When using the system’s instant messaging app “WaitChatter,” users learned about four new words per day, or 57 words over just two weeks.

Oftentimes, we don’t realize how much time we spend waiting for emails to load, or connecting to wifi.

WaitSuite aims to gently reinforce mindfulness, and allow users to pick up new words that are useful for everyday conversations.

“This work is really interesting because it looks to help people make use of all the small bits of wasted time they have every day” said Jaime Teevan, a principal researcher at Microsoft.

Stimulating our brains in the time it takes to reload our email? Where do we sign up?

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