Students spend extensive amounts of time trying to make sense of mathematics and helping others to make sense of it as well. Carefully explained equations and derivations lose their finesse when they are sent as a mess of incomprehensible symbols and numbers--but, no more. LaTeXt uses the LaTeX system, initially created to render calculations neatly and beautifully in publishing, in a text messaging add-on that preserves the integrity of mathematical explanations.
What it does
Given a message written in LaTeX, LaTeXt uses a rendering system to transform it into a png image displaying the typset version of the calculations with proper formatting--just as you'd see in a real textbook. This image can than be easily shared via text message or other messaging services to allow easy collaboration and communication between people.
LaTeXt also has the capability to take a picture of the rendered image and return the corresponding LaTeX, allowing for easier editing.
We also built a customized keyboard app containing the characters most needed for writing LaTeX in the top row.
How we built it
We developed a Flask webapp with Twilio integration to handle all of the SMS aspects of our project. We used a LaTeX renderer to create the typeset images from lines of LaTeX that were sent.
We used Android Studio to develop the customizable keyboard.
Challenges we ran into
We had a difficult time getting the rendered image of the LaTeX formulas to be transmitted without being distorted. We tried several different things including overlaying images and blowing up the pictures while maintaining aspect ratios. We also had some issues figuring out the Twilio API as we were unfamiliar with it.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
-Creating a finished product that fit our initial vision -Figuring out new technologies and systems on the go
What we learned
-Figuring out how to use Flask and Twilio together -Figuring out how to create an Android app
What's next for LaTeXt
The next thing to do would be to bypass the middle step of producing the image and having to share it and instead having the message directly sent to the recipient. We would also like to integrate our system with an Android app that runs in the background and constantly reads SMS messages to replace LaTeX code with rendered images.