Well it looks like technology gods have answered our prayers... about 10 years too late. PhotoMath is an app that combines two well-established technologies (optical character recognition and calculators) and uses them in a free app that can solve algebra problems just by pointing your phone at them. Two things that make it noteworthy are how it easily spits out answers, and the fact that it can break the problem into individual steps, thereby taking the work out of "show your work".

 

PhotoMath from MicroBLINK on Vimeo.

 

At the time of this writing, PhotoMath is hovering in the top 20 free apps on iOS. 

Teachers shouldn't start burning Apple Stores to the ground yet, the app can't handle word problems, and it still doesn't have 100% accuracy. But give it another few years/updates, and it could be doing your Calculus homework for you and writing the answers down using its 3D-printed robot arms. 

 

Here's a real-world test done by fusion.net's Alexis Madrigal:

 

Now we just need to get some venture capital for OUR upcoming app "GetOutOfGym" that writes realistic doctors' notes for out of shape teens.