Innovation Gallery

Hewlett-Packard 38G student graphic calculator, c. 1995

The HP 38G was a graphing calculator for high-school math and science teachers and students. Introduced in 1995 at $79.95, it supported applets, small applications that could be developed as part of the curriculum and easily distributed from the teacher's calculator to the students'. Using applets, all the students in the classroom could have their calculators programmed identically at the beginning of a lesson. Equations were entered using algebraic format rather than the Reverse Polish Notation (RPN) used by most HP calculators. (RPN is a system for representing mathematical expressions without the use of parentheses.)

The HP 38G could communicate with other calculators via infrared transfer, a local area network or the Internet. Teachers could program problems on a HP 38G, connect the calculator to a PC and post the work online, or use the device's infrared ray to beam data to other HP 38Gs in the classroom.

The HP 38G was designed with the help of an advisory committee of eight high school, community college and university teachers. The calculator case was designed to include a sliding plastic cover to make the HP 38G more durable for use by younger students.

Hewlett-Packard 38G student graphic calculator.

The Hewlett-Packard 38G was designed with the help of an advisory committee of eight high school, community college and university teachers.