Team Profile: Mental Canvas
Team Members: Paul Christensen (SOM ’13), Patrick Paczkowski (Ph.D. Candidate ‘13 - Computer Science), Julie Dorsey (Professor of Computer Science), Smita Venkat (SOM ’13), Andreas Kalpakci (Master of Environmental Design ARCH ’12)
Mental Canvas revolutionizes the development, exploration and sharing of ideas in 3D. Unlike the current "top-down" approach of Computer-Aided Design (CAD) systems that define large masses in 3D and then add details, Mental Canvas enables its users to explore unfinished ideas built from sketches and photographs in a coherent, lightweight environment built for the features and interface of the tablet computer.
Paul Christensen (CEO) is an MBA candidate at Yale SOM. Paul has 7 years’ experience in public relations and non-profit consulting in Asia and the US. He has a B.A. in Political Science from Yale University.
Patrick Paczkowski (CTO) is the co-inventor of Mental Canvas. Currently a Ph.D. Candidate in Computer Science at Yale University, he has a B.Sc. in Computer Science and Mathematics from Duke University.
Smita Venkat (CMO) is an MBA candidate at Yale SOM. She has 7 years’ experience in brand and management consulting to MNCs in Asia. Smita has a B.Sc. Economics from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
Julie Dorsey (Chief Scientist) is a co-inventor of Mental Canvas. Currently she is a professor of computer science at Yale University. Julie came to Yale in 2002 from MIT, where she held tenured appointments in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and the School of Architecture Architect.
Andreas Kalpakci, (Creative Advisor) studied research methods in architecture on a Fulbright scholarship at Yale. Andreas has an M.Arch, B.Arch, from Academy of Architecture, Mendrisio and is a registered architect.
What problems did you see that led you to develop Mental Canvas?
Given the growth of tablet computing, Mental Canvas has a unique and compelling opportunity to be a transformative force in the development and sharing of 3D ideas. Through its intuitive tablet interface, Mental Canvas makes exploring 3D ideas easier for designers and more accessible for everyone. Mental Canvas addresses two problems: (1) modern Computer-Aided Design (CAD) systems are frequently used in the later stages of the design process, but are inadequate for the quick and conceptual early stages, and (2) there is currently no effective way to contextually incorporate the location or actual surroundings of a design.
How is the Mental Canvas solution different?
Through stroke-based sketching on multiple canvases, and importing images and visual data to create lightweight environments, Mental Canvas allows users to quickly explore concepts in 3D before committing to an idea. No other software offers this capability today. Built on proprietary technology developed in Yale’s Computer Science department, Mental Canvas will help both professional and casual designers explore ideas and potential directions without having to commit resources to creating a complex design model.