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New iPhone app could replace graphing calculators

Staff Writer

Published: Friday, October 23, 2009

Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 15:02

Tired of those clunky TI-83's?  Apple has created a new a scientific and graphing calculator application for the iTouch or iPhone called "RK-83."

      This new app is designed to enhance the traditional TI-83 by making the graphs clearer, enabling new updates to be utilized every two weeks, and speeding up the process of calculation all with the touch of a finger.

    A drastic change in price may be an appealing element to students.  A new TI-83 calculator costs roughly $100, however this application would only cost students in possession of an iPhone $0.99.

    "I'd like to think that we are bringing a human element to the calculator world," said iPhone developer Nic Westlake.  "We are trying to escape from the bulky, intrusive traditional calculator and update it to more modern standards."

    The idea for the new application started when a California Institute of Technology student was "infuriated" with having to constantly enter numerous graphs and problem sets into his TI-83.  He was frustrated about how time-consuming the process was and began developing a new interface for Apple. 

    According to Westlake, they devised the new application and hope that it takes hold across college campuses.

    As it has only been out for two months now, Westlake and his associates are spreading the word about the application through interviews as well as providing information about it on their website Their website also includes a blog where new users can voice their thoughts and concerns about the application.

    Students and professors alike at UNH have some reservations about the program.  Sophomore Allie Bowen doesn't mind her TI-83. 

    "I think it would be cool," Bowen said, "but I can see graphs just fine on my TI-83 and it will probably last forever, where as if your iPhone or iTouch died or broke, you could potentially be out of a calculator for a while."
    With UNH's new cell phone policy, Sophomore Liz Campbell doesn't see how this application could be put to use in classrooms. 

    "We aren't allowed to have cell phones or iPods during class so I don't think this app would be practical or useful for students," Campbell said.

    Since iPhones and iTouches have so many additional features, Campbell thinks that it would be too easy for students to become distracted and be pulled away from just the calculator function.

    "Even if you would use it for homework, I think I would be prone to doing other things like listening to music," Campbell said.
    Civil Engineering Professor Rebekah Briggs sees how the app could cause some difficulty come exam time. 

    "I think it's an awesome idea on paper, but it wouldn't work for exams," Briggs said.

    With a mobile phone that can text and access the Internet, there would be no way to make sure that students were only using the application.

    "They would need to use a real calculator in the long term," Briggs said.   

    Still, Westlake is excited to see how students respond to using it. 

    "I think students will want to calculate when using this application, it will just feel good to do so on an iPhone or iTouch," Westlake said.  "It's a win-win situation."


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Mon Oct 7 2013 19:05
"I think it would be cool," Bowen said, "but I can see graphs just fine on my TI-83 and it will probably last forever, where as if your iPhone or iTouch died or broke, you could potentially be out of a calculator for a while."

And how do you expect to keep your TI-83 around "forever" if you can't handle an iPhone? Yeah, if you lose your iPhone now you're out a calculator (and also your contacts, pictures, videos, music). Too bad it cost a whopping $0.99.

Sun Nov 11 2012 11:36
I use the full TI-83 ROM software on my android phone pulled straight off of calc. "ANDIE GRAPH". full emulation with every button from the calculator displayed onscreen! anything else is not an accurate recreation. check it out if you love Texas Instruments as much as i do.

and donate your physical T.I. calculator to a local high school

only available for Android OS at the moment.

asmithin arkansas
Sun Aug 19 2012 15:08
RK-83 is a great app for a 7th grader just learning about graphic calculators. My sons school has casio's that they can use in class , but this would help at home. just .99c
Sat Oct 24 2009 14:45
Nice idea. Except for the fact that you cant bring in such a device when you take the SAT, ACT, AP, etc, let alone in a high school math classroom!
Sat Oct 24 2009 09:20
if you thought cheating with the Ti-83 was a problem, just wait till professors allow iphones/touch into the classroom for exams, especially buildings with wifi. might as well do the test open book and as a class together

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