This is the online portfolio from Tabea Kowalski, an industrial designer based in Zürich, Switzerland.
Beide Front weiss.jpg


The interactive speech-to-text system.
Bachelor project, inspired by Phonak AG.
ZHdK, 12 weeks 2016
Mentors: Susanne Marti, Christian Lehmann

The central topic of my BA thesis revolved around helping people suffering from severe hearing loss. Though currently hearing aids provide significant assistance in making sense of the auditory world surrounding us, deaf people still heavily rely on visual cues such as lip-reading to hold everyday conversations. However, lip reading in itself is limited as well: multiple participants, distance, and absence of visual contact are all factors hindering conversational comprehension. These limitations can significantly affect someone’s life, privately as well as professionally.

The situations in which Dito must perform were the starting point of the project.

In co–creation workshops with users, mockups were built and tested.

Showing the concept for a new approach to include people with severe hearing loss in their work environment.

Dito is an interactive speech-to-text system. By combining a microphone, speech recognition software and the “Dito” application, it is capable of providing subtitles, enabling social participation in a professional setting. The hardware itself is a remote control with a microphone, allowing for the highlighting of text. The application provides an interface in which minutes can be displayed, edited, managed and shared with colleagues. Regardless of visual context, anyone suffering from severe hearing loss can now join the conversation. Interviews, tests and co-creation workshops with both potential users, as well as professionals, were part of the design process.

Sketches of flow–charts for the Dito app running on smartphones and the form finding process.

Variations of the user interface that were discussed and tested.


A selection of screens from the Dito app.


Technical drawings and components of Dito.

Visualization of the Dito Basis Station fully and half charged.


Rendering of Dito in the Charging Station.

1:1 models of Dito.

Used methods
persona / scenario illustration / user experience survey/ interviews / co-creation workshops / rapid prototyping

Used tools
Solidworks / Keyshot / Cura / Adobe Photoshop / Adobe Illustrator / Adobe After Effects