Art Center Summit 2010: Projects & Partnerships in Sustainable Design

Yan Kramskaya

Product Design 2011

A former illustration student and professional dabbler of sorts, Yan Kramskaya has since jumped into the field of industrial design, with a particular concern for social and ecological responsibility. Yan’s interests lie in educational tools and interactive new media, andbackground in illustration inspires a playful approach to design.


iTôk Deaf Learning Device


Art Center Student Gallery

Product Description

iTôk is an iPhone accessory that can help speech therapists teach introductory letters and sounds to children with speech disorders. A child blows into a series of mouthpieces, each representing specific letters and sounds, while a sensor built into the iPhone's microphone records airflow patterns. An animation appears on screen with audio and visual feedback that reinforces the correct pronunciation and use of each sound.

Sustainable Goals & Strategies

Focusing primarily on social sustainability, iTôk’s design was led by three main goals. First was to reduce material waste, through simplifying and stripping language learning tools to their bare essentials, eliminating the need for paper records through digital archiving. Second was to provide insurance companies with the objective data that is necessary to cover costs of therapy sessions through digitally tracking speech exercises. Maintaining a digital archive of progress made during therapy sessions, and providing the insurance companies with quantitatively measured results along with therapist notes, helped in achieving this goal. The final goal was to increase face-time between speech therapists, children with language learning disorders and their parents through combining ubiquitous smart phone technology with learning tools presently on the market. To achieve this, the existing technology was optimized to do part of the work for speech therapists and parents, but also a platform was created for parents and therapists to digitally exchange data prior to sessions.