We are continuing a series called App of the Week, wherein we recommend the best apps to support the academic experience. Please let us know what you think, and feel free to provide suggestions for apps we should review.
Chances are, if you’re a USMA cadet, you’re taking at least one class per term that requires some complex calculations. This week’s app, MyScript Calculator, utilizes the iPad’s handwriting translation capabilities and ample screen space to create a powerful, complex calculator – and you can have it with you at all times.
MyScript Calculator won the Mobile App Showdown at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) 2013, and when you try it out, you’ll see how a simple calculator app can actually be pretty cool.
The app background resembles graphing paper, and you simply use your finger (or a stylus) to scribble your equation onto the screen – it then converts to digital text before your eyes. In the top right corner, you’ll see buttons to take you back to a previous calculation, or forward to the current one. A tiny trash can acts as a delete function. That’s pretty much it – though a small button in the top left corner takes you to a menu where you can see a short tutorials and edit your settings, like so:
And now, you write. Your equation goes from looking like this:
Here are some of the functions you can perform:
● You can use the “?” symbol to solve for variables, and the calculator will display the correct answer.
● You have a choice between automatic calculation and manual calculation – if it takes you a little while to write, you may want to switch to manual so your equation doesn’t convert too early. I recommend this option.
● This lefty loves the left-handed setting!
● The palm rejection setting allows you to rest your hand on the screen (after you’ve begun writing) without messing up your equation.
● It will add in elements to make the final equation more clear, like a x (times) or + symbol.
● MyScript’s handwriting translation capabilities appear to be incredibly accurate, even with my sloppy iPad-handwriting, but it does get it wrong sometimes. However, this is usually pretty obvious, and you can simply go back to your last equation, scribble over the hard-to-read part (just act as if you’re crossing it out), and it disappears.
● It doesn’t support multi-variable equations.
● If you start writing too large for the screen, you can’t adjust the screen with pinching motions.
● Great tool for checking your work, but it doesn’t show how it calculated the equation step-by-step – so it can’t actually teach you how to do it.
Bottom line: MyScript Calculator is a fun, extremely helpful calculator app to have around. Use it to check your next homework assignment, and let us know what you think!
The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government. No endorsement or recommendation of any specific products or services is intended or implied.
Contents contributed by Lauren Dodd Hall, Circulation Librarian