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The Literacy Pen • Writing a New Story Towards Literacy, One Letter at a Time

  • Client

    World Literacy Foundation

  • Solutions

    Product & Service DesignProduct DeliveryImpactful Brand ActivationsExperienceArtificial Intelligence




Case Study


Overcoming illiteracy through accessible product design.

In 2024, UNESCO reported that 773 million people around the world grapple with illiteracy. The consequences of this reverberate through society, perpetuating cycles of poverty, inequality and exclusion. While conventional approaches to building literacy, like peer teaching or formal literacy programs, are effective, they often aren’t accessible to everyone. Google and the World Literacy Foundation sought to overcome this challenge by building an alternative and more accessible way of gaining literacy skills. Together, we designed and built the Literacy Pen, which serves as a simple and inclusive device that supports elements of literacy acquisition like written and visual repetition.

Artificial intelligence breaks traditional literacy barriers.

The Literacy Pen is a groundbreaking educational device designed to enable illiterate individuals to write and learn to read instantly through an innovative method, combining powerful artificial intelligence with essential elements of traditional literacy-building methods. Despite its name, the Literacy Pen isn’t a specific pen; it’s a small but mighty device that clips onto any pen or pencil, an accessible design for anyone to use.

Using the pen is simple: simply speak what you want to write, and voice dictation technology accurately transcribes the words onto its digital screen, letter by letter. Users can then directly copy the written text onto paper. Immediately, this gives them the ability to write a message; but over time, the act of repeating words helps enhance the learning process. This technology is powered by Google’s open-source speech-to-text technology.

From prototype to reducing global illiteracy rates

  • A microphone on the literacy pen the literacy pen device on a pencil

Accessible design enables a solution for all.

We developed and tested five versions of the device before landing on the final functional model. Despite facing numerous challenges in programming, UX, and product design, we were able to iterate toward a user-friendly solution for all.

The Literacy Pen’s compact size, lightweight and ergonomic shape were designed to make it comfortable for people of all ages and ability. As for its interface, the Literacy Pen features clear icons that provide easy understanding of its functions to its users. These design characteristics reinforce our goal of building a solution for everyone, making literacy more accessible for a far wider range of people around the world.


Offering hope and renewed opportunities to countless individuals worldwide.

  1. A boy holding the Literacy Pen smiling
  2. A woman holding the Literacy Pen smiling
  3. A woman holding the Literacy Pen smiling
  4. A woman holding the Literacy Pen smiling
  5. A woman holding the Literacy Pen smiling

For More!

Changing lives, one letter at a time.

The real-time transcription capability of the pen ensures immediate feedback, accelerating learning and comprehension. The breakthrough in using speech-to-text technology in such an accessible way marks a leap forward in advancing literacy initiatives worldwide, empowering people to overcome literacy barriers.


  • Commitment to manufacturing 2,000 devices for distribution to over 50 locations worldwide by 2025
  • +300 MM impressions in just two weeks
  • 100% positive sentiment

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The website has been translated to English with the help of Humans and AI