Simple arithmetic is easy enough; adding, subtracting, multiplying, and division. You can do it on a basic calculator. Add brackets to the mix and you have to remember which order to solve them in. It’s still do-able with an ordinary calculator. Now think linear equations in one unknown variable or fractions. If you haven’t done a lot of maths recently, you are probably going to be choppy at some of this. PhotoMath Solve is a free iOS app that I could’ve benefited from in my school years. It’s an app that solves maths problems simply by scanning them with your camera and it shows you the individual steps that led to that solution. The app isn’t exactly going to help you ace an advanced degree in Mathematics but if you have children who get Maths homework, the app can be a useful in helping them learn. At present, the app can only scan problems that have been printed and not hand written. It can solve basic arithmetic operations, fractions, decimals, linear equations in one unknown variable, and some logarithmic functions.
Fire the app up and point it to the equation you want to solve. You can adjust the focus area. Dots appear over the equation as the app reads it and the answer appears on the screen as an overlay. Tap Steps to see how the equation was solved. If the app is having trouble reading the equation, use the button at the bottom to turn the flash on.
The steps may be illustrated over more than one screen. You can go back to see recently solved problems by tapping the menu button at the bottom of the camera view. Tap the arrow button to view the previously solved equation. All solved problems can be recalled.
We tried the app on simple equations and slightly complex fractions involving an underoot operation. In all tests, the app gave us the correct results with the only problem being how long it took to read the equation. Considering that we were breaking the rules by pointing it at an on-screen equation instead of one printed on paper, that is something that can be overlooked. The app is great and I really could have used it to do my home work back in school.