PhotoMath uses your phone’s camera to scan and solve math problems, coming soon to Android [VIDEO]


PhotoMath screenshot

The 80’s had the Casio calculator watch, while kids in the 90’s had those huge TI 86 calculators. Every decade or so it seems kids find themselves in possession of some new technology that helps them work through math’s toughest riddles but kids never had it so easy as they do now. Take a look at PhotoMath, a new app for smartphones that will not only help you solve mathematical problems, but show you exactly how it was all done.

As easy as taking a photo, the app uses your smartphone’s camera to scan math problems directly from a textbook. You don’t even have to press a button, just hover the viewfinder over the problem and watch and the app provides you with an answer right on the screen. Because an answer is only half the problem, clicking on the forward button will take you through the entire step-by-step process on exactly how to solve a problem, making it more than a quick cheating tool, but a learning one at that. PhotoMath also stores the history of solved problems so you can always go back and double check on something.

We’ve seen real time text recognition apps in the past (like the now Google-owned Word Lens), but this takes things into a whole new category. As far as its usefulness goes in the classroom, something tells me teachers wont take too kindly to a student whipping out their phone during a test, so don’t rely only on PhotoMath getting you through the semester. The app is available for both iOS and Windows Phone and coming to Android devices next year.

PhotoMath from MicroBLINK on Vimeo.


Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. How complex do the problems have to be to solve?

  2. this is awesome!

  3. If this works with nursing math I would be so happy.

  4. Arithmetic expressions, Fractions
    and decimals, Powers/roots and Simple linear equations are supported. Will be great when it is finally ready for Android, next year.

  5. Now if only that would work for my circuits homework…

  6. This would have been awesome to have when I was still taking math classes! Wolfram alpha had my back though.

  7. Can it compute subatomic physic equations???

    1. Probably the ones that Wolfram Alpha can do.

  8. having the answer doesn’t mean much if your teacher wants you to show all the work it took to get there…on a different note wonder it it can handle negative binary and hexadecimal numbers

    1. “Because an answer is only half the problem, clicking on the forward button will take you through the entire step-by-step process on exactly how to solve a problem, making it more than a quick cheating tool, but a learning one at that.”

      They addressed that the app doesn’t just give you the answer but also explains how to get there.

      1. ahh, ok, then I guess it would depend on if the method they use to get there is the same one that is taught. The real benefit I see is for people that are teaching themselves.

        1. Indeed. I imagine it’d be a good way to check ones work as well, even if the method is different, if you have the same answer as the one given by the app and the app’s step by step solution makes sense, it’d be a nice way to make sure you’re doing things right.

  9. Mind. Blown. I should have been part of the younger generation having things easier. Well at least I can help my kids down the road.

    1. you forgot ” and I walked 8 miles, in the snow to school, and it was uphill both ways

      1. “….Without shoes or socks…”

  10. Isn’t this the app they were trying to make on The Big Bang Theory?

  11. As much as I like to see the technology advanced and love new technology myself, as a mathematics professor I have a simple solution to this, I just ask harder problems that are conceptual and cannot be solved by any application. For my students life is going to get harder the more they try to cheat.

  12. Nice to see that a tiny little country like Croatia has such talented and motivated programers :)

  13. I downloaded it on the iPhone to see what all the fuss was about. After giving it a whirl, I can see its just a gimmick. Even under optimal conditions it has a hard time deciphering legible equations. It gives you all these missed concepts of what it thinks the equation should be but nothing quite close to it. Yea I’m sure if you needed this in the crunch it would hardly be reliable. Nothing to see here folks, move along.

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