With all the apps available for iOS devices on the App Store, there is always a chance you will find something that will truly surprise you. However, few apps can be as impressive as those that make good use of augmented reality, allowing you to use your device to interact with the world around you.
One of the best examples of this is PhotoMath for the iPhone, an app that performs math calculations in real time using your iPhone’s camera. This app not only makes good use of augmented reality, but will actually make you wish it had existed during your time at school to help you out with those endless math assignments. In fact, while the app is not flawless, it still delivers and will make you realize how easy kids have it these days.
Let’s take a better look at PhotoMath and its impressive capabilities.
As mentioned above, PhotoMath can scan and solve math operations in real time. For this, it makes use of some advanced OCR (Optical Character Recognition) algorithms to recognize numbers and symbols on the spot. Simply start the app and point your iPhone’s camera towards the equation you want to solve.
When using PhotoMath, you will notice a red frame positioned at the center of the screen. You can actually drag any of the corners of this frame in order to make it fit the equation you want to scan. The app provides better and more accurate results if you do so.
Once the app recognizes the equation, it quickly displays the result below the red frame.
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If you want to know how PhotoMath gets its answers, the app also provides a very detailed explanation of how it gets each result. You can access this section of the app by tapping on the Steps >> button once a result is displayed. This takes you to a section where you can advance through each step using the arrows at the bottom of the screen.
To access all your past solved equations, PhotoMath also provides a History button (at the bottom left of the screen). Each past equation comes with access to its own set of steps.
While the results PhotoMath provides tend to be accurate, the app still suffers from a few quirks that hold it back. For example, symbols are not always read correctly, and quite often the app reads outside of the red frame, causing unintended mistakes.
Lack of support for handwritten math operations is also disappointing (although understandable).
Still, PhotoMath makes for quite an impressive first release, and as developers improve it and iPhones get faster and more powerful, the app will only get better and become more capable. Let’s hope developers can improve on it fast enough.