A new app for smartphones and tablets running  iOS 11 translates handwritten instructions into mathematical operations and then swiftly performs them, recognizing many calculation symbols.  

In addition to supporting basic math, MyScript Calculator 2 recognizes operators for percent, square roots, exponentials, brackets, trigonometric functions, logarithms and some more commonly used constants, all written horizontally. The product does not do calculations in vertical stacks.

Handwritten calculations automatically morph into neat figures and then are solved, but still can be edited after solution by “scratching out” and re-entering figures. It can solve an equation with a single variable, represented by a question mark. Results can be captured and reused.

We imagined engineers and inspectors might use the app in the field for fast checks, and we tested it first on iPhones, whose small screens made it difficult to enter figures accurately, and then on an iPad, which was much easier to handle. 

Then we ran it past a couple of scientists and our math-whiz copy editor, who gave it a whirl. The laboratory scientists pronounced it fine, but said they could work faster with traditional calculators. But our copy editor appreciated it more, as it was handy to have around and quickly answers common problems, such as percentage decrease or increase. MyScript Calculator 2 is available at the App Store for $2.99.