Ben Levitt


I'm looking for an opportunity to design intuitive user interfaces for exciting products.

Software Design and Development:

Voice User Interface Designer / Internal Tool Developer: Returned to BeVocal (Spring 2006 - )
  • Designing user interfaces for voice recognition applications for cell providers.
  • Designing and implementing a prompt-management system, allowing us to automate the more annoying, error-prone parts of voice-user-interface design work.
  • Designing and implementing native applications on the iPhone platform.
Senior Speech User Interface Designer AOL Voice Services (Summer 2003 - Winter 2005)
  • Designed user interfaces for automated, voice-recognition-based, telephony applications, and redesigned old ones. Focused on various messaging applications.
  • Designed dialogue flow, wrote detailed specifications, wrote copy for the voice talents to record, designed recognition grammars.
  • Designed and implemented an xml specification framework allowing for user interfaces to be generated directly from the specifications.
  • Wrote a set of internal speech design guidelines.
Voice User Interface Designer: BeVocal (Spring 2000 - Summer 2002)
  • Designed user interfaces for voice recognition applications, including applications to access voicemail, flight information, sports scores, movie times, driving directions, order status, DSL availability, and others.
  • Wrote copy for the voice talents to read, wrote grammars for the voice recognition system, planned the dialogue flows.
  • Designed algorithms to improve recognition performance
Speech recognition and gaze tracking researcher: Archimedes Project at the Center for the Study of Language and Information at Stanford University (Summers 1998-1999)
  • Designed experimental, multimodal applications combining voice recognition, head-tracking, a gaze-tracking system, and other input modes as alternative user interfaces for the disabled.
Wireless communications system developer: Stanford Medical Informatics (Summers, part-time school years, 1994-1997)
  • Implemented a wireless messaging system for doctors on Apple Newton pdas. Included user-interface, wireless communication, and compression/encoding scheme.
NeXTStep software development consultant: Stanford University Communications Lab (School years, 1992-1993)
  • Assisted Professor Clifford Nass in implementing some of his early human-computer interaction experiments in the NeXTStep environment.

Teaching and Leadership:

Residence Assistant: Roble Hall, Stanford University (1999 - 2000)
  • Served as one of 10 Residence Assistants in a 300-person dorm.
  • Organized retreats, speakers, and barbecues.
  • Counselor and a source of advice.
  • Looked after the emotional health of the other students.
Teaching MS Agent to non-programmers: Stanford University Communications Lab (Spring 1999)
  • Taught communications graduate students how to create web-based experiments involving animated graphical agents, and perl-based backends.
Teaching Computer Science at Stanford: Stanford University Computer Science Department (Winter - Spring 1998)
  • Taught sections of the introductory computer science classes.
  • Gave individual help in the computer cluster.
  • Graded assignments and tests.
Computer Tutoring: During High School, I tutored elementary and junior high school students in Unix, HTML, HyperCard, and C.

Computing Knowledge/Skills:

Operating Systems: Linux, iPhone (MacOS Mobile), PalmOS, MacOS, MS Windows, NeXTStep
Languages, Tools: Currently fluent: C, C++, objC, Perl, PHP, MySQL, VXML, JavaScript/AJAX/ gwt, xslt, DocBook
Familiarity: Lisp, Java, Macromedia Director, PostScript, Mathematica/Maxima, Basic Stamp / SPIN (microchip programming)


Stanford University: Graduated from Stanford in Symbolic Systems in 2000
Classes included:
  • Computer Science: many programming environments, Artificial Intelligence, and algorithms.
  • Psychology: behavior, perception, cognition, management, and gender.
  • Linguistics: logic, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics.

Open Source Projects:

Traverso: A Multitrack Audio Editor / Digital Audio Workstation. This tool allows non-destructive editing of many file formats, on all major desktop platforms.
MythTV: A DVR (Digital Video Recorder) system. Similar to TiVo, but modularly expandable, and runs on standard PC hardware. I have contributed a number of user interface changes, configuration points, and picture adjustment controls.
daoism: A gui audio-CD layout and burning tool, making use of cdrdao (disk-at-once). Allows placing track breaks within audio tracks for creating continuous mixes.
cheech A networked, cross-platform chinese checkers game. Includes multiple rule-variants, and computer AI players. Also includes an AJAX-based web-frontend built with google's gwt.
Collaborative VNC: An extension to tightVNC that lets you share computer desktops between multiple people, across the Internet. Each user can see the other users' mouse pointers, and it is possible to control how users obtain, and hand off control of each desktop.
libnjb: This library lets you connect a Creative Nomad Jukebox 3 to a computer running Linux. I helped figure out the device's communications protocol, and contributed new features and bug fixes early in development.
Palm OS software: I wrote and released user interface changes to the PalmOS, and a dynamic metronome that can measure beats per minute.

Spare Time:

KZSU Radio:
  • In the Spring of 2006 I became the Program Director of KZSU. I create the quarterly on-air schedule, manage the show application process, run meetings, mediate staff conflicts, and help train new DJs.
  • Since June of 1999, I have had a weekly, two-to-three-hour music program on Stanford's radio station, KZSU, during which I play trip-hop, abstract and instrumental hiphop, brazilian, indian, ambient, and more.
  • Served as the director of music reviewing, and the electronic music director.
  • As webmaster, built internal web tools for managing kzsu's event calendar, and reserving kzsu resources.
Self-taught Electronics: After being downsized in 2002, I decided to learn more about electronics, and to apply that knowledge towards several personal projects.
I built from scratch a robot that avoids shadows and walls, and likes the fridge.
I built interactive clues for The Game.
I built a pair of large LED scoreboards, and a controller for an improvised game-show being put on by a friend's Improv Troupe.
I designed and built a servo-signal decoder to allow using a standard radio controlled plane receiver to electronically trigger the shutters of on-plane still and video cameras.
I am currently working on an autopilot system that will use gps data and infrared sensors to navigate and stabilize a plane.
Hobbies: Snowboarding, Social (Couples) dancing, Flying/Hacking Radio Controlled Planes, Aerial Videography, Roller blading, Freebording, Music listening and mixing, Surfing.