According to einfolive.com, the PhotoMath app works by analyzing a picture that you take of a printed equation. It then shows you step-by-step how the equation should be properly dealt with, demystifying the mathematical process so that the user eventually may be able to apply the same principles sans smartphone.
|For those without "A Beautiful Mind", now you can fake it. Russell Crowe not included.|
(Image courtesy theguardian.com.)
The process PhotoMath uses is called Optical Character Recognition. First, it scans the desired text. Then, it filters and enhances the equation's text, removing anything not required for the solution by extracting the equation's features. Finally, the characters will be recognized by the app, and solved as you follow along.
The app works on a variety of math problems, including regular arithmetic, fractals, decimals, exponents, roots, and simple linear equations. It cannot currently solve equations that are hand-written, but is able to deduce text coherently from standard printed pages.
PhotoMath works on Windows and iOS phones, with an Android version launching in 2015. Ironically, the PhotoApp's amazingly useful features were created by MicroBlink, who were otherwise involved in developing photo recognition software that many malign as invasive and creepy when used for surveillance. At least one good thing has come out of this cyber-scrutiny: the ability to teach a useful life skill in simple steps. If only all of technology's evil plans had such a good side.
|It's basically this, except inside your phone.|
(Image courtesy theoldrobots.com.)