In an episode of the Big Bang Theory, the guys embarked on a journey of creating a revolutionary app. An app that their fellow scientists would use at work, to solve scientific equations. While their thought process was substantial, the idea never became a reality because they were actors playing out a script. Obviously! The world was left with a void.
It wasn’t just Sheldon and the gang that dreamt about solving equations and other mathematical problems without any human effort. I had similar fantasies too. I used to dream about being able to use a device that would solve all my math problems; maybe then, I would have been able to score a better grade for my math assignments.
Now, however, I don’t need to dream any longer because a group of gifted individuals decided to uplift my plight by creating an app called “PhotoMath”. The new and revolutionary app called PhotoMath solves your mathematical problems through the camera on your smartphone.
So how exactly does it work?
After you’ve installed the app on your Windows Phone or iPhone (the android version is still in the making), you can run the app and hover your phone directly over the math problem and within a few minutes, you will have your answer. You can then view the steps as well to understand the inner workings of the problem, or you could just copy the steps or type them out for your assignment. Genius!
The app currently supports arithmetic expressions, fractions and decimals, powers and roots and simple linear equations and the team is continuing to add more.
What I like about the app
I like the app primarily for what it represents. To me, it represents not just the ability for technology to solve simple math problems but also to solve complex mathematical problems in the coming future. This lets us delegate both simple and complex tasks and it lets us focus on issues that actually matter – like worrying about which series or movies to watch and what you could have for lunch.
The app stores a record of all the problems that have been solved. You can check out the steps for the sums when you want to, to learn as you go along. In the case that you have no idea as to how the app works, you can also check out the help feature.
What I don’t like about the app
After testing out the app, the main thing that frustrated me about it was that it doesn’t inform you about the app’s solving progress. You might just end up holding your iPad or iPhone over the problem for a while without any results. I would prefer seeing some sort of progress on the app as I hold my device over a particular problem, so I know if its solvable or not.
I would also like to know the time the app would take to solve a problem or if a problem can even be solved by the app. You would also have to play around with the focus a few times to understand what exactly works because the instructions aren’t really helpful. Even after using the app for a while, you may still be left hanging, without an answer and the experience is quite frustrating.
The sensors are also not foolproof – it’s very sensitive to surrounding numbers, and should its sensors (denoted by the little white circles on the screen) pick up the wrong number, you may end up with various possible answers flashing repeatedly, some of which are definitely wrong.
The app also doesn’t solve handwritten questions as of yet. So if you get some word problems (that can’t be solved either), you won’t be able to write out the related equation to solve immediately. Looks like it won’t be able to do your homework for you just yet.
Kudos to the guys that came up with the idea but I would really appreciate it if the app could provide me with some sort of visual feedback while it figures out a particular problem. This is 2014, and I don’t have the patience to wait 10 minutes or longer for the app to figure out the answer to 2x – 1 = 3.
That being said, once, you get the hang of it, you could use the app to solve all of the simple problems and you could spend your time, cracking your head on a more complex problem. But as it is only able to solve simple arithmetic and really simple linear equations, it can only be used by primary school students for “fun” but not for “real” work. I don’t see it being used by anyone higher.