
05/17/2001, 01:41 AM
#1
I'm a college student, and I see a trend. Virtually every high school and college student in the nation is required to buy a calculatorgenerally a TI83, TI86, or TI89, depending on the level of the class (and the competence of the instructor). I personally use a TI92, which offers a full QWERTY and overpowered math functions.
The price of Visor PDAs is dropping steadilysoon a student could concievably buy a Visor and the (about to be proposed) graphing calculator module/software and get a reasonably fullfeatured computer and calculator for around the price of a TI89 or 92.
So, here's the module I'm proposing.
Powerful calculator with algebraic or RPN equation entry
Graffiti interface with optional onscreen buttons or menus
Symbol manipulation (for manipulating equations and variables, rather than numbers)
Fast, powerful graphing, with zoom and trace features
Extensive array of units (which are manipulated right in the equations, thanks to symbol manipulation)
Powerful statistics functions
Open plugin architecture for adding functions (say, differential equations, or engineeringspecific stuff)
Emulation of "feel" of popular calculators, so when a teacher walks a student through doing something on a TI83, they can follow along on their Visor
POSSIBLY interpretation of programs from other calculators (though this may hit copyright issues)
Communication with other calculators via serial port, including swapping and conversion of variable formats.
(The data interchange formats and protocols for both TI and HP calcs are wellknown...you could slap a GraphLink cable onto the end of your serial cradle or cable, for example, and talk to TIs.)
The software might be distributed in a Springboard module with a connector for TIcalculator comm cables (as they're the most common these days). The software itself would be very cheap, the Springboard would be very reasonable (almost certainly under $50). Assuming I don't run up against TI's lawyers.
Thoughts?


