What does a calculator look like to you? Chances are it has a pretty standard form. Lots of buttons, LED screen, maybe a solar panel. Calculators on phones mimic the same style, but on touchscreen devices you have more flexibility with how a calculator should act. Instead of tapping buttons, Finland-based NumberRings allows users to slide two wheels to get the results of simple arithmetic.
The concept is pretty simple, but it’s designed to be scoped down and focused on the very essence of a calculator.
“I was looking at my son, who was a 2nd grader but now in 3rd grade. One of his homework was one page of adding subtraction and multiplying. I thought I could help kids do that kind of homework. Especially with doing bigger numbers better,” says founder Ismo Hautala.
There’s no need to think about what mathematical operation you need to put between numbers, the app automatically adds, subtracts, multiplies, and divides each number as you scroll the wheels, letting you get a feel for how numbers move between operations.
Hautala has experience with usability and design from Nokia, and has applied it to this product. “From a usability point of view, you don’t have to aim anymore. Psychlogically if you have to aim for a button, its effort for you.”
The app will monetize through different skins, but Hautala has plans to take the wheel concept to more serious calculation needs, such as loan calculators or so on. A new version of the app also includes an optional wheel for decimals.
But for now, they’re focusing on the younger demographic and demonstrating to teachers how NumberRings can be used in the classroom or at home.
NumberRings can be downloaded free from the App Store.