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Introducing PhotoMath, the app that helps you cheat on tests

Educational dream—or educator's nightmare?


Rob Price


Posted on Oct 22, 2014   Updated on May 30, 2021, 8:56 am CDT

For all the #disruptors, evasiveness and anti-regulatory posturing to come out of TechCrunch’s Disrupt conference over the last 2 days, there’s also been a few damn cool products on show—and PhotoMath is one of them.

The result of two years of development of text recognition software by tech company MicroBlink, PhotoMath is a school slacker’s dream. Simply load the app on your phone, point the camera at a math equation, and voila—solved. 

It’s not intended for cheating, of course. There’s an option to show working, taking you through how to solve the problem step-by-step, which could be invaluable as a learning tool. But it’s not hard to imagine the app being used for slightly more nefarious purposes too.

The app isn’t an end in itself for MicroBlink, however: PhotoMath—while entirely functional—is intended partly a demonstration of the underlying recognition technology, which MicroBlink hopes to licence out to other companies. TechCrunch reports that MicroBlink previously developed PhotoPay with the same technology—an automated system for bill-paying now licensed to 14 European banks.

PhotoMath was one of the four finalists for the “Disrupt cup” presented at the conference, eventually losing out on the $48 thousand prize fund to database server platform The app is currently available on Windows Phone and iOS, with an Android launch planned for early 2015.

Screengrab via MicroBLINK / Vimeo

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*First Published: Oct 22, 2014, 7:12 am CDT