Even though smartphones rule the world, graphing calculators still exist . And not only that, they are also still widely used by students everywhere, mainly when taking certain exams where it is not allowed to use other types of devices.
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Manufacturers like Casio and Texas Instruments are the kings of this mathematical universe , with their lifelong graphing calculators, and with more advanced models, but they are not the only ones. NumWorks was born as a calculator with a modern design, many functions and even support for Python .
NumWorks, a calculator with Python
Python is one of the most popular programming languages in the industry , one widely used to spark student creativity and help introduce them to the world of mathematics. What if we could use them directly in the calculator that we use every day? This proposes NumWorks.
The graphing calculator has MicroPython 1.12 built-in , which is an implementation of Python 3 designed to work on small, uncomplicated devices. Students can not only learn with ready scripts, they can also create graphs using code and extend the features of NumWorks .
This new calculator also has many of the other features you would expect from a device called a “calculator”. Its creators promise that you can work with fractions, roots, parametric, polar and Cartesian functions, do probability calculations, equations and more.
One of the most outstanding aspects of the NumWorks calculator, perhaps, is its graphical interface and design. Unlike many current models that, although feature-rich, inherited graphics and lines from yesteryear, this offering has a look that seems much more current .
Inside is a 216 MHz Cortex-M chip.shell The case is highlighted by light colors and has a cover that attaches to the back, weighs 170 grams and runs on battery power. One charge promises 20 hours of use. The keyboard, meanwhile, is divided into three thematic areas. The price? $99 in the US, and the manufacturer promises to ship to Europe.
A project that changed along the way
NumWorks was originally born as an open source calculator. The idea was to make the details of the hardware and software available to the community. Even anyone with the necessary resources could build their own calculator, or adapt the existing documentation for their own project.
Much of that essence remains, but some things have changed. Last year the manufacturer restricted the openness of the project so that the device could remain safe for exams ( Texas Instruments restricted the capabilities of its calculators for the same reason a few years ago ).
Uploading of custom software is currently allowed, but it can no longer access all of the device’s hardware , limiting its functionality. In addition, the license has been changed, preventing redistribution of the original NumWorks software.
However, it is still possible to access the hardware documentation to learn how the device was designed and discover its electronic schematics. At the software level, it is also possible to edit the Epsilon software to create a customized version, but only for use within the NumWorks hardware, precisely for licensing reasons.