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PhotoMath App Solves the Equation
By: Jennifer Graber
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Think back to your school days and reminisce about your math classes. Do you ever remember staring at an equation, wishing there was some magic way to solve it? Were there times your calculator simply was not enough? Yes, the calculator gives you an answer, but you have to know how to plug in the equation correctly in the first place. Those days have slipped into yesteryear and a new way to do math has arrived. There is now an app for that. So you need to round up the abacuses, cue the nostalgic music, and listen for the gritty voices exclaiming about times back in their day.

PhotoMath is a recently released app that that “reads and solves mathematical impressions by using the camera of your mobile device.” To use the app, you place the equation in view of the red frame within PhotoMath. The equation must be printed and cannot be handwritten. It then will pop out the answer to the equation. Afterwards, PhotoMath will provide a step-by-step process to follow to obtain the solution yourself.

Currently, Photomath has the ability to solve “arithmetic equations, fractions and decimals, powers and roots, and simple linear equations.” Therefore equations you are seeking to solve must be simple in nature. Complex equations, from calculus for instance, will not be processed by the app. But Photomath does have plans to provide assistance with more complex math in the future. Right now, the problem-solving app is available for Windows and Apple phones. It is expected to be released for Android phones next year.

PhotoMath is already drumming up some debate online. Obviously, some feel as if it is making math too easy for kids. There are also concerns that the app will only facilitate cheating in a landscape that is already combatting the use of smartphones. But there is the flip side as well. At first glance, PhotoMath does appear to take out the hard work for students. However, the math app can also be used as a tool for those struggling with certain equations or facets of mathematics. The step-by-step feature can show a student means to an end. In an ideal situation the student would then take the knowledge gained from PhotoMath and put it to use outside the app. The app could potentially be a teacher when one is unavailable for assistance.

I have mixed feelings about this particular app. Everything is going digital, so it was only a matter of time. And, to be honest, in the future we will likely be able to scan our math books and a computer will do all the work for us. But to me there will always be a need for a human element in the digital world. We need to be able to understand the concepts in order to make the technology do the work for us. It will be interesting to see what type of success PhotoMath sees and in what industries/fields. What are your thoughts?

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About the Author
Jennifer Graber is a Business Development Manager and marketing enthusiast. Her specific interests include branding, consumer behavior, development, integrated marketing communications, and new & social media.
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