Mathematics is the queen of sciences and one of the most difficult subjects for most students. Simple arithmetic, which later turned into complex algebra and geometry, made many people hate these disciplines. In the age of information technology, things are different. Smartphones and tablets with “smart” calculator applications, which will be discussed in this article, came to the aid of schoolchildren and students.
The developers of the most popular mathematical application Photomath call their creation “camera calculator”. Its peculiarity lies in the fact that using the camera of a smartphone or tablet, the user can solve almost any mathematical task. Logarithmic, quadratic, trigonometric equations and inequalities, roots, modules, degrees, fractions, integrals, entire systems, and factorials – all this is not difficult. At the same time, the application not only provides answers but also step-by-step describes task solutions – it is very useful both for students and parents who want to check the mathematics of a child.
Photomath works automatically. When the application starts, the built-in camera interface with the specified recognition area is activated. It is enough to accommodate a mathematical problem in this area, as the smart algorithms of the program begin to analyze the data on the screen and almost instantly give the answer. To see the progress of solving the problem, click on the result in the red box. The last 10 entries are stored in history, the user can view the solution of the previous task at any time.
If the program incorrectly recognized the mathematical symbols in the task, it can be edited in the calculator mode. It is worth noting, the developers have thought very well about this feature. A calculator with all kinds of operators is available here, there are digital, textual and character layouts.
In one of the latest updates of Photomath for Android, the long-awaited handwriting recognition feature finally appeared. It works flawlessly, for better results, it is desirable to have a neat handwriting.
In practice, Photomath proved to be excellent. The app copes with the entire school curriculum in mathematics and algebra, including high and high school. Difficulties are possible when solving equations with a module and complex factorials. Sometimes a program not from the first or even from the second time recognizes voluminous tasks. Photomath doesn’t see quite complex expressions, but basically, the application is really worth it – it works without the Internet, does not contain ads and is completely free. True, a little confused by the words “the application is unlocked until 1.09.17.” This suggests that developers are planning to make Photomath paid, or introduce paid features.
Even before the Photomath application learned to recognize handwritten math problems, the Mathpix program for Android had long been able to do it. The essence and principle of operation of both applications are very similar, but in general, the Mathpix service is designed for a more adult audience. Judging by the description, the application solves quadratic equations, problems with fractions, roots, logarithms, integrals, derivatives, etc. However, its main “chip” is the ability to build graphs of functions, thanks to integration with the advanced graphing calculator Desmos,
Mathpix’s recognition algorithms are very good. The program in a matter of seconds scans and determines the task sends data to the server and issues a response. At the same time, the user has access to tools for working with tasks in the graph mode: editing input data, adding tables, notes, and additional functions for several graphs.
In fact, Mathpix does well only with simple tasks. Parabola and other elementary graphics application build with a bang. But the program did not manage to solve trigonometric and logarithmic equations, inequalities, and also equations with a module.
In general, the application is difficult to use, the interface is not very unfriendly, the controls are inconvenient on a smartphone with a small screen. The disadvantages can also add the lack of a detailed description of the solution of problems.
MalMath: Step by step solver
This application helps to solve math problems with the subsequent step by step description and plotting. MalMath for Android is notable for being completely free, does not contain ads and works without an internet connection. It is designed for high school students, university students, and colleges. MalMath can solve integrals, derivatives, limits, logarithms, trigonometric equations and inequalities, examples with roots and modules. At the same time, the application supports only manual input of expressions, the recognition function using the camera is not provided here. As for his abilities, they are limited to tasks of medium complexity with a more modest description of solutions than other applications.
The MalMath interface is easy, made in a classic style and optimized for small screens. In the settings, you can change the font size and animation speed. The side menu includes five items: main screen, worksheet, schedule, task generator, favorites. The most interesting is the task generator function, which allows you to create random math problems with several categories and levels of complexity specified in the settings. All expressions and graphics can be saved in favorites.
The process of adding a task is implemented on the principle of inserting formulas in Microsoft Word. In general, everything is simple and clear, but in some places, it is not very convenient, in particular, when entering complex combinations with fractions and roots.
Another tool for solving problems, which, in addition to the school course of mathematics, covers mathematical analysis, statistics, trigonometry, linear algebra, and even chemistry. Externally and functionally, the application completely repeats the web version of the Mathway service – the same interface in the form of a messenger, in which all actions take place as if in a dialogue with a virtual assistant.
Of all the applications considered in this article, Mathway provides, perhaps, the most detailed step-by-step solutions to the problems. All the functionality of the application is free, although the description states that to view the step by step solution, you need a paid subscription. In addition to equations, inequalities, and other complex expressions, Mathway can build graphs and can find the number of molecules in a certain body mass.
Mathway for Android can solve problems using the device’s camera, but this feature is not implemented in the best way. Firstly, the camera interface in the program is extremely minimalistic, it does not even have a recognition area. For best results, it is necessary that the expression is in the center of the screen, and there should not be other inscriptions next to it. The camera is automatically set to macro mode, recognition algorithms are often blunt and do not work well. In truth, it is much easier and faster to enter a task manually, for this purpose there are simply great opportunities in the application. A sliding sidebar gives you access to 10 sections, each of which has its own calculator with certain symbols, operators, constants and other functions.
Mathway prompts the user to choose the way to solve the problem, depending on this, the results may vary. If one of the methods does not fit, it is enough to tap on the mathematical expression again and choose another solution. Mathway is hardly suitable for those who want to quickly get an answer to the problem. But if you look, the application has a lot of potentials.
MyScript Calculator appeared in early 2013 and immediately received recognition at the CES international exhibition for innovation. Unlike most calculators, the program offers a completely different approach to mathematical calculations. A feature of the MyScript Calculator is that the application works only with handwritten data entry. There are even no buttons, as such, and all that is available is a blank canvas on the whole screen, imitating paper-graph paper. Examples to calculate the user writes with his finger or using the stylus. In this case, it would be preferable to use a tablet or a tablet with a digital pen.
The program automatically recognizes the records, translates them into a normal digital form and immediately gives the result. Recognition algorithms MyScript Calculator are just great, the program manages to identify even the most outspoken scribbles. There are functions of undo and redo the last action, as well as a complete cleaning of the screen from the written. The list of supported characters and operators is quite large. The application can work with fractions, square roots, constants, solve equations, find variables, but much of which is still beyond the power of this calculator, so it is unlikely for university students to fit.
The main disadvantage of the MyScript Calculator for Android can be considered the lack of a detailed description of the solutions, the program gives only the final result. Although, given the concept of the application, perhaps it would be superfluous. But the fact that there is a lack of various convenient details, it is rather a wish for developers for the future. For example, I would like to see the history of calculations, the ability to scale the screen and save the entered tasks. But, if all this is discarded, the application is really useful, simple and original.
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