A chat with the developer of MyScript Calculator

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The MyScript Calculator free Android and iOS app by Vision Objects


I had the fortune of interviewing Giovanni Rodriguez of Vision Objects, a world leader in handwriting recognition. At the Mobile Apps Showdown, Vision Objects’ Fernando Rynne told the crowd that handwriting recognition goes beyond replacing legacy keyboards. The unprecedented app they created proves that. They named it the MyScript® Calculator and it’s available on Android and iOS.  If you click on this link, you’ll see the presentation video and why MyScript Calculator was crowned the 2013 Winner of the Mobile Apps Showdown, besting nearly 40 other great competitors. Now that’s impressive!

Here’s more information about the app and the company. Answers are provided by Giovanni Rodriguez of Vision Objects.

Q: What’s the difference between the MyScript® MathPad and the MyScript Calculator? How soon was MyScript MathPad created after MyScript Calculator?

A: MyScript Calculator is targeted at the general public and shows that there is an easier way to enter math into a machine than using a keyboard. The fact that your mathematical expression gets transcribed and calculated on the fly is what gives this app its wow effect. However, our core business has nothing to do with developing calculators or scientific solvers – we provide the handwriting recognition engines that let developers add handwriting input methods to their solutions (the SDK used in MyScript Calculator is called MyScript Equation). To illustrate the full power of MyScript Equation, we decided in Q2 2013 to develop a full-fledged mathematical expression renderer capable of recognizing and converting into LaTeX almost any form of mathematical expression. This is a tool many professors and students have longed for!

Q: After its inception, how many years and months did it take to finally present the Calculator at the Mobile Apps Showdown?

A: MyScript Calculator started a couple years back as a demonstration application we developed to showcase our math recognition SDK. All the customers we showed it to were amazed by its accuracy, speed and concept. In fact, after the feedback received at CES 2012, we decided to polish up this demo and turn it into an application. The first release of MyScript Calculator was born on Google Play in late June 2012. Then we recognized the need to port this app to the Apple world and version 1.1 appeared on the App Store that December, just 3 weeks prior to the 2013 Mobile Apps Showdown. The rest is history I guess. We have reached over 12 million downloads since its launch, appeared on the Apple TV commercial, and inquiries are still coming in from all over the world.

Q: At what age did you become aware that you loved math? What else would you like to say about your apps to students, parents, professionals, etc.?

A: Being a system engineer,  math was always with me as a student. I remember those big calculators with a lot of buttons. In those days, just to write a simple equation, you’d need to refer to the user manual and do a lot of combinations. What we are looking to do is to have a real natural way to write and interact with math, text, shapes and much more. This is what our technology provides, a natural way for people who want the pen and paper feel, but with the advantage of mobile devices and the interactivity on tablets and smartphones. The idea behind the use of our technology is to provide students and professionals reasons to start using those devices more as companions and content creation devices, and less as consumer devices.  Thank you for taking time to write about us and our vision for the great potential of mobile devices for students, parents, children, and professionals.

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