Algebra class just got easier for high school math students with smartphones (ok, that last part
is redundant). PhotoMath is an app that uses optical character
recognition (OCR) technology to decipher a polynomial algebraic equation and perform
operations on it  like solving for unknowns. microblink's "Vision"
app provides the OCR (blinkOCR)
part of the functionality since it already knows how to take a picture of text and convert it to ASCII type characters
based on its 'text recognition, barcode, and ID scanning' algorithms. PhotoMath then takes the process a step farther by
figuring out what needs to be done with an equation and and then doing it. But wait, there's more ... not only does PhotoMath provide the
solution to the problem, but it also shows you how it arrives at the solution every step of the way.
"Now, how much would you pay?," as the old Ronco "ChopoMatic"
TV commercials salesman (Ron Popeil) used to say. Answer: You pay nothing because it
is FREE, at least for now. Both
iPhone and Windows phone versions of PhotoMath are available
as of this writing, and an Android version must be in the works based on the grayedout button on the page.
Only
firstorder, single variable polynomials can be analyzed at this time, but development is underway for handling higher
order equations, trigonometry, and calculus. So, it looks like PhotoMath, while it definitely has a 'cool' factor,
will only really be of use through maybe the third week of Algebra I class. After that, you're back to MathCAD,
Maple, or MATLAB software on your notebook computer to do the really hard equation solving for you.
PhotoMath from
MicroBLINK on Vimeo.
Posted October 23, 2014
