An anonymous reader writes: Croatian startup MicroBlink built an an app that solves differential equations, just by taking a photo of the equation. If there was concern in higher education about smartphones being used to cheat in exams, now that fear has become even more justified.
The app, called PhotoMath operates in the most intuitive and easy to use manner: You just need to use your smartphone’s camera. After running the app, you aim the camera at the equation or exercise, and within seconds, without even pressing one button, the solution will appear on the screen. Just like that. To reach this level of simplicity, the application uses an advanced and fast OCR algorithm that identifies the characters and digits in front of you instantaneously. But the application does not stop there. If you want, with one click you can see all the steps taken to get to your final answer. The solution can be broken down into the step-by-step actions, and the user can simply browse back and forth between the different steps. The app currently supports arithmetic functions like addition, subtraction, division and multiplication; fractions and decimals; roots and powers; and simple linear equations with one or two unknown variables. Application developers are promising that additional, more complicated functions will be introduced in the near future to solve calculus and combinatorics equations.