Ping Fu

3D Printing.

University of Illinois graduate Ping Fu describes herself as “an artist and scientist.” But that doesn’t give her nearly the credit that she deserves. As founder of Geomagic, a 3D imaging software company, she has helped usher in an era of 3D modeling used by companies throughout the world. You’re welcome.

PING FU

PING FU

PING FU
PING FU

MATRON OF 3D PRINTING

Ping Fu is a Chinese-American entrepreneur and cofounder of the 3D software company Geomagic that she founded while in Champaign-Urbana. Never heard of it? Believe us — in the world of 3D scanning, modeling and printing, it’s a pretty big deal. Engineers, designers and artists — from companies like Boeing and Mattel — use her software to do everything from streamlining the manufacture of toy doll houses to customizing cranial prosthetics, hearing aids and dental devices. Her technology has even been used to guarantee the safety of the space shuttle Discovery and to recreate engine manifolds for a NASCAR racing team. And it does in mere minutes what designers used to take weeks to do.

And, according to Fu, we’re just getting started. She envisions a world where you’ll be able to send a photo of your feet to shoe manufacturers, and they’ll print out your shoes for you, customized to your exact specifications — all thanks to advancements in 3D printing.

During her days in Champaign-Urbana, her focus on computer graphics and visualization also included developing the software responsible for animation of the liquid metal T-100 robot in the film “Terminator 2: Judgment Day”. And she was the supervisor of computer science student Marc Andreessen while he worked on the project of developing Mosaic, the world’s first modern Web browser.

Once again, you’re welcome.

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