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 Crate.io. The app is currently available on Windows Phone and iOS, with an Android launch planned for early 2015.
Screengrab via MicroBLINK / Vimeo