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SupraComputer Review

Posted by Orilla on 11th March and posted in Reviews

The SupraComputer

The SupraComputer is a great example of how modern technology can bring top educational tools to anyone at an affordable price. If you are not tech savvy at all, it comes with simple printed instructions for hooking it up (additional ingredients needed include a keyboard, mouse, and monitor or TV with HDMI input), and onscreen guides once you get it going. The emphasis of this machine is math, and it comes with an icon at the top for Wolfram Mathematica, which was well known as one of the best computer math tools when I was in college 20 years ago. Many other educational programs are included for all ages – games for teaching letters, spelling, typing, and math to young children, paint programs, a complete office suite (word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, database, diagram tool and math formula editor), and tools for learning computer programming.

The icing on the cake is hidden on a website behind login information provided in the printed quick start guide. Dr. Craig Hane, founder of Triad Math Inc. (one of the companies behind the SupraComputer) has recorded a number of instructional videos that cover the basic concepts of math from counting to differential equations and linear algebra. These are included with the purchase of the computer at no extra cost. They can be accessed from the computer if you hook it up to the internet (either wired or wireless connection). There is also a store with special discounted prices on extra SupraComputers, replacement parts, and additional math programs.

For the geek like me, you won’t find any information on the public website about the specs on this computer, which means they can change without notice. The model I received has a case like is currently shown on the website, with micro USB port for the power adapter, HDMI, 4 USB ports and an ethernet port. You might notice I didn’t mention a power button – it powers on when it is plugged in, and if you shut it down from the software you have to unplug it and plug it back in to make it come back on (this is explicitly pointed out in the user manual). Because of this, the lack of holes punched for mounting on the back of a monitor doesn’t bother me. The case is very small – 3.5″x2.375″ and 1″ tall. A peek behind the label shows that inside the case is a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B V 1.2. It comes with Raspbian 8 (Jessie) installed on a 32GB microSD card. This means that all the software coming on the Supra Computer is free, but I don’t think that is a bad thing. I have been running various forms of Linux nearly exclusively on my personal and work computers for over 15 years and feel it is far superior in many ways to any other operating system, including cost.

If you wanted to gather the parts and take the time you could build this yourself, but I feel like Triad Math has done a great service in making this available to everyone who won’t take the time for a very reasonable price. And even if you did, you would be missing out on the supplemental training videos on the website, which add considerable value to what you get. If you have anyone in your life looking at a future career that depends on advanced math, this is definitely a worthwhile purchase.

Want your own SupraComputer and help your child with their math? Go to https://supracomputer.org and get yours ordered.

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