PhotoMath – app that solves equations

An app that solves equations using smartphone cameras – PhotoMath.

Solving equations in school are every student’s nightmare. Times are changing and students are using technology to aid them in their academics. A few years back, using calculators in school would have been a dream, but now there are graphing calculators that students can use to solve almost any equation. However, up until now, there was no way to solve equations using smartphone cameras.


The app replaces the need for students to type in the equation into the graphing calculator by using a smartphone camera. All a person needs to do is point the camera at the textbook and the app gives a solution within seconds. The application reads the equation and gives out a step-by-step explanation of the answer.

While some may believe this app is going to be helping students cheat in exams, there are a lot of advantages of using an app like this. For students who are weak at maths and don’t have a tutor, this would be very beneficial. Often parents want to help their young ones with their studies, but are left red-faced with the complex questions that appear in books.

With the help of PhotoMath, parents can first understand the solution and then go on to explain it to their children. PhotoMath is a free app for iOS and Windows phones, but unfortunately for Android users, it is not available on the Play Store yet.

The app uses Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to read the text. This is the same technology that is used to read information on bank cheques and printed records. The app description states, “PhotoMath currently supports basic arithmetics, fractions, decimal numbers, linear equations and several functions like logarithms. New math is constantly added in new app releases.”

The app is developed by Microblink, a London-based company.

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