The Calculator That Actually Makes You Smarter!

This is no ordinary calculator.

This is the QAMA or the “Quick Approximate Mental Arithmetic” calculator. Designed by scientist-physicist Ilan Samson, it’s designed to make students — and heck, adults, too — *actually smarter* in math.

At first, it seems like it behaves like a regular calculator…except that before the QAMA gives you the answer, IT MAKES YOU ESTIMATE IT FIRST, which means the QAMA relies on *you*to know basic math, such as multiplication tables or how basic exponents work, for example.

If you estimate close to the answer (and the “closeness” is relative, depending on the level of difficulty of the problem), the QAMA will then give you the correct answer. If you are not close (again, relative to difficulty), then the QAMA makes you estimate again.

I don’t know about you, but I haven’t done calculus since high school, so this calculator intrigues me.


[Source: QAMA Calculator / Via Forbes]

7 Responses to The Calculator That Actually Makes You Smarter!

  1. I would want one only if I could disable the 'estimate' feature when I really need a straight answer fast.
    Oh and it has to be cheap too or no go!

  2. I Imagine if one know how to make mathematic equation using paper and pen one wont need this device and vice versa if one do not know that it won’t help him in any way. Ergo it is just toy for geeks.

  3. How does estimating an answer help anyone? Sure I can round 11.4 to 10 and 9.6 to 10, then round 7.2^2 to 7^2 so its 10*10 = 100 then subtract 50 to estimate 50. Whoopty do. However, the answer is not 50. So whats the purpose? The only thing I can see is that is shows that you know multiplication takes precedence over subtraction, but so what? Thats basic algebra.

    • At the very least, knowing what the answer should be means that you can tell if you've made an error with the calculator.

      I'm going to assume (dangerous, I know) that you haven't reached the point where you have a child of about 5th or 6th grade age. When you get to that point, you will begin to discover that the math curriculum in most school systems is very calculator-dependent.

      It gets worse when they get into high school. Our school recommends a TI-83 calculator. We got our daughter an HP 39GS, which is roughly equivalent but had a few things that I preferred. Bad idea! All of the examples in her textbooks demonstrate how to solve the problems using a TI-83. If she has a question, most of her teachers look at the calculator with a dumbfounded look and then she would bring it home to me and I would should her how to solve the problem. We finally caved and got her a TI-83.

      But back to estimation: Of my three children who regularly use calculators in their classwork, about 10% of the errors they make when I check their homework are due to punching things into the calculator wrong. Being able to (and trained to) estimate consistently would allow them to catch those by recognizing that the answer doesn't look quite right.

      It may be too late for my older two — they're probably too set in their ways. Plus, estimation only gets you so far when you're dealing with scientific calculations with lots of exponential numbers. There might be hope for number three. I'll be ordering one of these for number four.

  4. I always estimate any math I have to do first. Having an idea of what the answer should be is a good double check of how well you have stated the math question.

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