Have you used your calculator for something that was not really math related?
03-01-2019, 09:18 PM
Post: #67
 Don Shepherd Senior Member Posts: 745 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: Have you used your calculator for something that was not really math related?
Actually, I usually use my calculators for things that are not math related at all. That would require programming, of course. See the pix below.

The four colored cubes must be arranged so that each of the four colors appears on each of the four sides when the cubes are placed side by side. I got that puzzle probably 30 or 40 years ago and played with it awhile and never could get the solution, so I sat down one day and wrote a BASIC program to brute force rotate (electronically) each cube until a solution was found. I was quite proud of that and, reasoning that if I couldn't solve it using my head then neither could my Sunday School students, I offered $10 to any of them who could solve it, knowing that they wouldn't be able to. Of course, one of them did and I had to explain to her parents why I gave her$10.

The TI-84 plus CE calculator screen below is from my program "find the hidden path" (I also implemented that program on the 17bii solver, but without the graphic screen of course). Sort of like Battleship, the goal is to guess the cells (in as few guesses as possible) that comprise the randomly-generated path, left to right, in an 8x8 grid. The program uses colors as feedback: black means your guess is on the path, green means 3 adjacent cells are on the path, yellow means 2 adjacent cells are on the path, and so on. So you use the color feedback to refine your guesses. I had written many small programs for the TI-83/84 series of calculators prior to the TI-84 plus CE, and it was a very satisfying challenge to program with colors for the first time.

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