Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Maths on a Smartphone

I recently gave a talk about doing Maths on a smartphone.  I chose four of my favourite apps.  I like these apps because in all of them there are opportunities to think and work mathematically, not just passively observe prepared material.

MyScript Calculator

MyScript is really easy to use – you just write the calculations with your finger.

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.visionobjects.calculator&hl=en_GB
iOS: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/myscript-calculator-handwriting/id578979413?mt=8

Problem to try: What’s the maximum product of a set of positive numbers that sum to 19?


Desmos is a very user-friendly graphing calculator.  In my experience most people find the interface intuitive and are able to work with it very quickly.

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.desmos.calculator&hl=en_GB
iOS: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/desmos-graphing-calculator/id653517540?mt=8

Problem to try: What’s the effect of varying a in the graph of y=x^3+ax+1 ?


GeoGebra is a very powerful mathematical package that I’ve discussed many times on here.  Currently the app is available for Android but not iOS.  You can see my thoughts on the app at http://digitalmathematics.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/geogebra-app-for-android-phones.html 

In addition to the app you can also open files from the extensive set of materials at  http://www.geogebra.org/materials/ using a browser.  At the time of writing there are over 360,000 materials on there.

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.geogebra.android&hl=en_GB
iOS: not currently available for iOS phones

Problem to try: Add the points A and B on the x-axis and C on the y-axis.  Find the equation of the quadratic that will always go through A, B and C wherever they are moved to.


Sumaze! is a mathematical puzzle app that requires you to move a block around a maze with various routes involving operations or restrictions on the value of your block.  It’s a great puzzle and features lots of maths including arithmetic, inequalities, the modulus function, indices, logarithms and primes.

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mei.sumaze&hl=en_GB
iOS: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/sumaze!/id1045060091?mt=8