PhotoMath Solves Math Problems via Video



  • Now this is a pretty cool technology. A new application for your smart phone that turns on the video camera, looks for math problems and solves them for you as soon as it sees them. It's the next generation of the calculator. You don't even need to type in the numbers anymore and it does more than basic math, it solves equations. Check out Gizmodo's writeup on PhotoMath.

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  • Samsung has an app where you can hand write equations into the phone and it will convert them to text and solve them. My friend showed it to me on the Note 4.
    Not sure if it's limited to that phone.



  • Saw this on Facebook. Pretty cool.


  • Service Provider

    Pretty soon we're going to have something like 100 people who know how to make things like this and everyone else who can't even solve simple math problems. Talk about class separation.



  • I love this! I could use this all the time!


  • Service Provider

    @Minion-Queen Just make sure you use printed math problems. I'm sure it can't read your handwriting.


  • Service Provider

    @art_of_shred said:

    Pretty soon we're going to have something like 100 people who know how to make things like this and everyone else who can't even solve simple math problems. Talk about class separation.

    And that is different than before.... how?


  • Service Provider

    There are still some of us left who know how to do math without that gizmo.


  • Service Provider

    @art_of_shred said:

    There are still some of us left who know how to do math without that gizmo.

    And those of us who are would probably still exist even with it.



  • Just now tested it. It states that it does not work with handwriting and has quite the issue reading off of a screen, so pretty much it will only work with printed text. Also, it does not really do the reduce thing too well. I pointed it at a sample problem of 2^30+2^30+2^30+2^30= ? and it gave me a whole number instead of a simplified version of the equation, which would be x^y.

    It is pretty fancy, but also figure that the only people who will use it are students looking for answers in the book, and for a question like the one I posed above it will not give you the answer you are looking for. So, while this looks shiny, it does not work as well as it sounds and still has a long ways to go before automating the resolution of common textbook math problems.



  • Don't show this to @NetworkNerd . He'll pull out his soapbox.


  • Service Provider

    I don't see too much case for solving hand written equations of that nature. I suspect that that will be something that they will solve in the future, that's purely just optical detection issues. But the majority of use cases must be printed ones. When someone wants to check work (or skip doing it) but as this does not show the process of finding the answers it really does not do peoples' work for them but just provides a fast way to verify the work.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    I don't see too much case for solving hand written equations of that nature. I suspect that that will be something that they will solve in the future, that's purely just optical detection issues. But the majority of use cases must be printed ones. When someone wants to check work (or skip doing it) but as this does not show the process of finding the answers it really does not do peoples' work for them but just provides a fast way to verify the work.

    It makes me wonder how many folks will try to smuggle these into standardized testing environments. Of course, that probably happens now to some extent.

    That just goes to show it is extremely important when teaching problem solving to make students show the work that led to the answer(s).



  • @NetworkNerdWifey said:

    Don't show this to @NetworkNerd . He'll pull out his soapbox.

    I'm already standing on it. 🙂



  • @art_of_shred said:

    There are still some of us left who know how to do math without that gizmo.

    Amen to that, sir.


  • Service Provider

    @scottalanmiller Yeah, it does math the way I do it; all in my head. Cost me a 100 on a regents once, cause I "didn't show enough work". Nothing like getting penalized for being too efficient. It takes too long to write all that crap down.


  • Service Provider

    @art_of_shred said:

    @scottalanmiller Yeah, it does math the way I do it; all in my head. Cost me a 100 on a regents once, cause I "didn't show enough work". Nothing like getting penalized for being too efficient. It takes too long to write all that crap down.

    I know, math teachers try to get you to learn math and then penalize you for having learned it. Makes no sense.



  • As the husband of a math teacher - The whole point of showing work is three fold:
    1 - you're not cheating
    2 - If you make a mistake, the teacher can see where you made it and try to help you
    3 - See that you are actually learning/doing a process which becomes more important the further down the road you get.


  • Service Provider

    @Dashrender said:

    As the husband of a math teacher - The whole point of showing work is three fold:
    1 - you're not cheating
    2 - If you make a mistake, the teacher can see where you made it and try to help you
    3 - See that you are actually learning/doing a process which becomes more important the further down the road you get.

    1 - This only helps catch that a little, and cheating really only hurts the cheater. This is like refusing to help someone out of a well with rope because you fear that they will hang themselves. What other class cares about the journey and not the destination? English class doesn't make you "build up sentences" to prove you didn't copy them.

    2 - True, but this doesn't explain punishment for not doing it. It's the opposite, in fact.

    3 - I don't buy this one. If you can do the work with fewer steps and find it intuitive you are in better shape. Showing rudimentary work once the problems are trivial makes no sense unless your goal is so slow people down because they are too far ahead.


  • Service Provider

    There is a reason why it's the "normal" class work that tends to require this stuff and not the competitive math stuff, the stuff that really gets you into colleges and gets scholarships. Punishing the good students in the hopes of helping the middling students is bad practice. It's "no child left behind" which is just the nice marketing speak for "no child gets ahead."



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    @Dashrender said:

    As the husband of a math teacher - The whole point of showing work is three fold:
    1 - you're not cheating
    2 - If you make a mistake, the teacher can see where you made it and try to help you
    3 - See that you are actually learning/doing a process which becomes more important the further down the road you get.

    1 - This only helps catch that a little, and cheating really only hurts the cheater. This is like refusing to help someone out of a well with rope because you fear that they will hang themselves. What other class cares about the journey and not the destination? English class doesn't make you "build up sentences" to prove you didn't copy them.

    2 - True, but this doesn't explain punishment for not doing it. It's the opposite, in fact.

    3 - I don't buy this one. If you can do the work with fewer steps and find it intuitive you are in better shape. Showing rudimentary work once the problems are trivial makes no sense unless your goal is so slow people down because they are too far ahead.

    I agree with Scott. Being forced to show work on problems I could easily do in my head and get right 99 times out of 100 was tedious and frustrating. Also, a lot of teachers looked for specific patterns, and if you didn't follow those patterns, you'd be marked as wrong .


  • Service Provider

    As someone who is Aspy and doesn't solve problems the way that other kids did, this was very frustrating and made learning math hard, slow and boring. It made school painful and didn't allow me to exploit my nature learning abilities and forced me to be useless.


  • Service Provider

    @Dashrender That is understood, but it's part of the "one-size-fits-all" educational approach that I hate so much. As a former straight-A student with a math major and a 98.9 GPA, I don't think there was anyone questioning whether I understood the process, or whether I had any reason or desire to cheat. Some kids got discouraged by how easy it all came to me, and the teachers (some, not most) would look for ways to knock a point off here and there to keep me as close to the "norm" as possible. It happened in more than just math class, and I even had teachers laugh as they openly admitted, to my face, that was exactly what they were doing. It wasn't fair to the average kids that I was too smart, and I was therefore penalized in a sad attempt to maintain the status quo. Case in point; I get 100% of the correct answers on the one test that matters for the course, and I get 3 points deducted because I didn't write down quite enough of the steps for some of the problems. I even made a point of writing down way more than I did for any assignment all year long. I think I finished about 20 minutes before the next person, so I "obviously didn't take enough time", or some BS like that.


  • Service Provider

    @scottalanmiller said:

    As someone who is Aspy and doesn't solve problems the way that other kids did, this was very frustrating and made learning math hard, slow and boring. It made school painful and didn't allow me to exploit my nature learning abilities and forced me to be useless.

    Yes, Scott used to rub sticks together to solve math problems. Sadly, he was robbed of his "nature learning abilities" and forced to assimilate.


  • Service Provider

    It's a means of discourages kids who like math, that's for sure. It might help someone who is struggling, but those who struggle with math are unlikely to use much of it, no matter how much they are pushed to learn, in high school. Most jobs require essentially no math and most of the population retains no math from high school after graduation. The only real bad outcome is if those who do enjoy and excel at math are discouraged. That kind of forcing people to show steps makes math students, especially, reconsider math and science jobs to a large degree because it discourages them from taking math in college or, in many cases, going on to college at all.

    It hurts those that we should be encouraging (in math) the most while encouraging those that aren't self motivated, are trying to cheat or just aren't that interested.


  • Service Provider

    @scottalanmiller said:

    It's a means of discourages kids who like math, that's for sure. It might help someone who is struggling, but those who struggle with math are unlikely to use much of it, no matter how much they are pushed to learn, in high school. Most jobs require essentially no math and most of the population retains no math from high school after graduation. The only real bad outcome is if those who do enjoy and excel at math are discouraged. That kind of forcing people to show steps makes math students, especially, reconsider math and science jobs to a large degree because it discourages them from taking math in college or, in many cases, going on to college at all.

    It hurts those that we should be encouraging (in math) the most while encouraging those that aren't self motivated, are trying to cheat or just aren't that interested.

    Very true, at least from my own perspective.


  • Service Provider

    For me it was actually the college math professors, no the high school ones, that drove me away from math and engineering. I knew more math in high school than I did in college, my professors were so bad that I actually lost abilities that I already had because they taught me so much bad stuff. It was so discouraging and such a waste of my time that it was the primary reason why I dropped out of college.


  • Service Provider

    @scottalanmiller Yeah, I honestly never went to college because all of the applications required writing essays. I hate writing essays, ergo, I never filled out a single application. 🙂



  • OK Speaking of math - what do you guys think of Common Core?


  • Service Provider

    Don't ask.