Microsoft Math Helper, or Microsoft Math, is a new feature of Microsoft's Bing application for Google's Android and Apple's iOS operating system.
The idea behind Microsoft Math is not new; scan an equation to get step-by-step explanations on how to solve it. Microsoft added additional bits of information such as visualization or help to the application that adds to the overall value.
I tested the Android application of Microsoft Bing / Math Helper but the Apple iOS version works similarly.
The core functionality of Math Helper worked surprisingly well considering that my handwriting is not the prettiest. The app scanned handwritten and printed equations without issues and provided a solution for these after sending them to Bing.
The sending part is a clear downside as the processing is not done on the mobile device but in the cloud. Users of the app need to make sure that the capture does not contain any important information or data.
Apart from scanning equations, Math Helper supports typing equations directly in a calculator or using touch to write them directly on the screen. These equations are also submitted to Microsoft before results are returned.
Results are presented step by step by the application. Steps are explained in the application, e.g. when something is multiplied or subtracted. The app displays a graph on the results page, and if multiple variables are used in the equation, solutions for all are provided.
Math Helper remembers calculations and a tap on the notes icon in the interface displays the history. Options to clear previous calculations or to pin important ones are provided on the page.
Microsoft Math Helper is a useful application, e.g. for pupils to verify the results of calculations or for parents to better understand or verify these calculations. Math problems can be added using the mobile device's camera, typed using a calculator, or added using touch. The app supports different types of equations and other calculations.
One downside to using the application is that it works only with the Bing app (as it is integrated in the app), and that it requires an active Internet connection as it won't return any results otherwise.
Applications like Photomath, available for Android and iOS as well, provide similar functionality but without Internet connection requirement.
Now You: do you use educational applications like Math Helper or Photomath?
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