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Attention, High Schoolers: PhotoMath App Can Solve Equations Using Your Phone’s Camera

Daniel Bean
Assistant Editor
Yahoo Tech

But first: Let me take a mathie.

The sharp team behind MicroBlink, the impressive mobile photo-recognition software engine, is now making it possible for you to do your algebra homework with your phone’s camera.

Its new PhotoMath app, announced this week at TechCrunch Disrupt in Europe, can solve arithmetic expressions and simple linear equations simply by “seeing” the problems in your textbook or on your computer screen, the team says.

(Yahoo Tech)

Just load the app — currently available for iOS and Windows Phone — and point your phone’s camera at an equation. If it’s solvable by PhotoMath, the program will not only provide a solution immediately, but it will also “show its work,” step by step, to explain how the problem can be solved by hand.

The Android version of PhotoMath is coming in “early 2015,” according to the app’s webpage.

In our trials with the iPhone version, PhotoMath worked well with some (not all!) simple “Solve for x” expressions but struck out with the multiple-variable equations we gave it (see below).

(Yahoo Tech)

Even though its development team promises to eventually add more advanced mathematical capabilities to the app, potentially making it genuinely useful to high school and college students suffering from math anxiety, MicroBlink doesn’t want you to mistake its new software for a bona fide learning tool.

“We are not an educational company; we are promoting our machine vision technology with PhotoMath,” MicroBlink co-founder and CEO Damir Sabol told TechCrunch.

No problem, guys. We’re still impressed.

MicroBlink’s other photo-recognition tools come in software development kit form, not as standalone apps. More information can be found at the company’s website here.

*Any earlier version of this article gave an incorrectly “solved” equation as an example of the app working.

Have questions, comments, or just want to tell me something funny? Email me at danbean@yahoo-inc.com. Follow me on Twitter @danielwbean.