Will the faithful scientific calculator change its appearance for good? Or should I say, will the old faithful scientific calculator change for the better? After all, look at the advanced technology that we have around us every day, from Bluetooth to wide screen to touch screen and even the Wifi! Shouldn’t that this gadget called scientific calculator finally get a new life? I mean, should we want to see a radically different scientific calculator? Would you want to?
I would love to but on the other hand, it will mean that I have to re-learn how to use one! And that’s scary to me. I have been so used to the “old” faithful scientific calculator for several reasons. Firstly, I think most producers have made them kind of physically robust where dropping the calculators in classrooms or lectures hall is common and they went on without scratches!
Secondly, the feel of the keys are superb, just like the keys on my laptop to write these. I can key in several numbers in a high speed fashion and each time the calculator loyally accepts the numbers without fail, unless you have keyed them in the wrong sequence, mixing up the mathematical symbols or keying in some garbage. In fact we always have very little problem with the calculators and we trusts them with the outputs each time.
Of course over the years these scientific calculators have grown and very much developed to change with time. There were
many models that can deal with statistics, mathematics, simulations, drawing graphs and even engineering computations. One of the great features ever produced is their ability to solve multiple equations! In fact physically the calculators have grown from one line display to two and in more advanced model, it went on with multiple lines and graphic displays.
One of the values for money in scientific calculators must be the battery power. I would probably tell you that I have not replace any batteries in my scientific calculators. Of course, the life span of a battery in the calculator could even out live the calculator’s! And not to mention that the batteries costs only a fraction of the gadget and that’s the reason for a good value for money.
The engineers were so clever in fitting in thousands of functions with keys combinations on the palm size scientific calculators, thanks to the “shift” and “mode” keys. I enjoyed admiring how these keys when combined, do wonders to all my computations ranging from logarithm to anti-logarithm, from power to root and even producing the set of statistical analysis with a single data entry! Genius!
Back to the question of changing the calculators, how would a revolutionary different calculator look like? Comparing a mobile phone and a calculator, the calculator life cycle would probably be between twenty to twenty five years behind the mobile phones. I
remember buying a scientific calculator back in the mid eighties and surprisingly, physically and functionally the calculators were the same as those that we buy today. Only the costs are different. That’s the reason why I can still confidently use one whenever I need too. The only difference, as I said are those development from a more human oriented input system as opposed to a more sequential input system in the earlier days.
What would you want in a new calculator? How do you want the calculator to look like, feel like and function as? You may also want to tell me that you would not want to carry another gadget because you already have a good calculator in your laptop, spreadsheet, mobile phone and tablet; and even in very user friendly small application on your iphone! Maybe a much specialised gadget just for statistics and mathematics, the one that the college only allows you to carry them in the examination hall? How would it look like? I guess I will have hard time learning how to use on if they were ever changed!
The following are my imagination and the sizes of these models are the same as your mobile phone. Touch screen, virtual
keyboard, plentiful of space for your computation, import and export of formulae, presentation function and playback for up to 100 computations, user defined graphics for graphs and animation of those, highly programmable (such as VBA), Bluetooth for communication, focus on problem solving and logic and better still, it has a Facebook connectivity*!
I will miss the “Syntax Error” or “Math Error” because these errors may well be eliminated with advanced computing!
*Models ranging from US$15 including delivery charges. Available only in China.