updated 01:00 pm EDT, Tue September 25, 2007
Texas Instruments today celebrated the 40th anniversary of the first handheld calculator by introducing the TI-Nspire, an advanced set of graphing calculators for both students and professionals. The series takes advantage of the advancement in technology by being one of the first calculators to show multiple versions of the same equation on screen at once: users can see the common numerical view as well as a representative graph, the algebraic formula, its geometric form, or even a written model. Values can be changed on the spot (including graph points) and updated across the entire set.
This also translates directly to included software, TI says. The same representations appear on the included Mac OS X and Windows programs and let users send files to and from the calculator, giving students the option of working on a math problem in class and translating it to their computers later for more advanced work in a more comfortable environment.
Every system is cleared for use with most major high school and college-level exams, andincludes a set of letter keys inserted between the number pad to let users write algebra or general text. A basic TI-Nspire model handles either the functions of the classic TI-83 or TI-84 with a swappable keyboard and handles most relationships between alphanumeric calculations. The Ti-Nspire CAS adds its namesake algebra system that allows for visual representations.
Both calculators should be available now through educational outlets; widescale retail availability should take place by "back to school" 2008, according to Texas Instruments. Prices for either calculator are not listed.