PhotoMath is an app that can prove to be a teacher’s worst nightmare. It solves equations and sums in a few seconds. It has the ability to do a student’s homework provided it’s not too complicated. Created by Microblink, PhotoMath uses a phone’s camera to solve equations and then teaches you the step-by step method for solving it yourself. The app can do arithmetic: addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication. It can handle fractions, calculate the root of 246, and can even do simple linear equations provided the ‘x’ you’re solving is in italics so the app doesn’t confuse it with the multiplication symbol. Schools are already dealing with an overload of smartphones, now they will have to be extra vigilant to prevent cheating. Most teachers would agree that PhotoMath perhaps offers a little too much help, but its creators say it would be useful as a study aid.
The app works almost instantaneously, using optical character recognition to ‘read’ math problems. It then solves the captured functions and displays the final result. A single tap will show a worked out, step-by-step solution. The only catch is that the equation you’re trying to solve must be in printed text, the app cannot decipher handwriting yet.
PhotoMath was developed in Croatia. The company, Microblink, is based in both London and Croatia. The app was launched at the Twechcrunch Disrupt conference in London and is available for iOS and windows phones. A version for Android phones will be coming out later this year. For those of you who are mathematically challenged, no more scribbling on restaurant napkins to figure out/calculate the tip.
The video below demonstrates how PhotoMath works: