MAYA Design

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MAYA Design Inc.
Founded 1989 (1989)
Headquarters Four Gateway Center, 444 Liberty Ave., Suite 1600, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15222, United States
Key people
Dutch MacDonald, CEO
Peter Lucas, Founder
Joseph Ballay, Founder
Number of employees
59 (2012)

MAYA Design Inc. is a technology design firm and innovation lab founded in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States in 1989. MAYA helps companies design more usable and useful technology products, as well as information-rich services and environments. It has established a pervasive computing practice to help companies design smart connected products, environments, and services. [1] [2] The name MAYA is based on an acronym coined by the industrial designer Raymond Loewy, and stands for Most Advanced Yet Acceptable''. The company's tag line is "taming complexity."[3]

MAYA was started in 1989 as MAYA Design Group by Peter Lucas (a cognitive psychologist), Joseph Ballay (an industrial designer), and James Morris (a computer scientist). At the time, all were colleagues at Carnegie Mellon University.[4][5] In 1998, the name was changed to MAYA Design, Inc. The current President and CEO is Dutch MacDonald.[6]

MAYA has been selected as a "Top Small Company to Work For in America" by Inc. Magazine ,[7] Fortune Small Business,[8] and Entrepreneur Magazine.[9]

MAYA has created four spin-off companies: MAYA Group in 1998, MAYA Viz in 1998, now called GD-Viz since being acquired by General Dynamics in 2005;[10] Rhiza Labs, spun out in 2008[11] and LUMA Institute, in 2010.[12]

Human-Centered Design[edit]

The company practices Human-Centered Design (HCD) with an interdisciplinary team of engineers (computer, mechanical, and electrical engineers), human-scientists (cognitive psychologists, anthropologists, human-computer interaction specialists), and visual designers (industrial designers, communication designers, film makers, a traditional architect, and game designers).

Research Agenda[edit]

In addition to doing commercial technology-design, MAYA has a research practice that focuses on two primary areas:

  • Information-centric computing,[13] which explores the aggressive use of direct manipulation in the context of well-defined "physics-based" interaction rules. The company has done extensive research and development work in this area under awards from the Defense Advanced Programs Agency (DARPA) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST.) Its Visage collaborative visualization platform was developed with leaders of the SAGE research project at Carnegie Mellon University[14] and is the framework for the Command Post of the Future. Work in this area has also been applied to global public information systems, transportation logistics, and drug-discovery.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ MAYA Pervasive Computing Practice
  2. ^ a b TECHburgher - MAYA's McManus to Present at Aspen Ideas Festival
  3. ^ MAYA Web Site
  4. ^ PG News -- Executive in the Spotlight: The battle against the Ugly Alliance
  5. ^ Pittsburgh Business Times - CMU spinoff MAYA Design finds success in simplicity
  6. ^ Dutch MacDonald appointed CEO/president at Maya Design
  7. ^ Top Small Company Workplaces - MAYA Design
  8. ^ Money - Best Small Companies
  9. ^ Entrepreneur - Great Places to Work
  10. ^ General Dynamics Acquires MAYA Viz
  11. ^ MAYA launches Rhiza Labs
  12. ^ Luma Institute
  13. ^ MAYA Research Practice
  14. ^ Peter Lucas; Cristina C. Gomberg; Steven F. Roth (April 1996). "Visage: Dynamic Information Exploration". CHI96 ACM - Electronic Proceedings. 
  15. ^ Joe McKendrick (December 9, 2009). "'Trillion-node network' arrives: we need smart design more than ever". ZDNet. 
  16. ^ Peter Lucas (March 1999). "The Trillion-Node Network". MAYA Design. 

External links[edit]