Geomagic CEO Ping FuGeomagic CEO Ping Fu.
There are some star players emerging in the growing tech markets and to celebrate International Women's Day we're taking a look at the females at the heart of the 3D printing industry.
So just who are these women and how are they steering 3D printing as it develops into a major industry?
Ping Fu is at the forefront of 3D printing. The American computer scientist is the founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Geomagic, which is a leading US software company that pioneers 3D technologies. Before setting up Geomagic, Fu was the director of visualisation at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, where she initiated and managed the project that led to the creation of Netscape and Internet Explorer.
Fu has been serving on the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship board at the White House since 2010 and has won a string of accolades for her contribution to technology, including a CAD Society Leadership Award in 2010 and the US Citizenship and Immigration Services' Outstanding American by Choice award in 2012.
Martha Lane Fox
In September 2012, Martha Lane Fox was appointed chair of MakieLab, a 3D printed toys and games startup firm. Lane Fox's reputation for being at the cutting edge of the technology scene has made her a top commodity in the industry. She co-founded lastminute.com with Brent Hoberman in 1998 and was appointed as a cross-bench peer in the House of Lords this month.
The English businesswoman is currently the UK's Digital Champion and chair of Go On UK, while she co-founded and chairs karaoke company LuckyVoice.
Upon receiving her appointment as chair of MakieLab, Oxbridge-educated Lane Fox said: "I'm absolutely delighted that [MakieLab] wanted me as their chair - even if it means my house is now full of 3D printed toys!"
Alice Taylor is the founder of MakieLab, but her background put her at the very centre of the bustling media world, having been commissioning editor for education at Channel 4 and vice-president of digital content for BBC Worldwide before branching into technology.
Her Wonderland blog has thousands of readers, while she is a prominent player in the gaming industry. Her daughter inspired her to set up Shoreditch-headquartered MakieLab while she also regularly contributes articles on technology and new media to publications including the Guardian, New Statesman and Kotaku.
Deirdre MacCormack is the co-founder of innovative full-colour, eco-friendly 3D printer manufacturer Mcor Technologies and has been selected as one of Ireland's top 38 startup and technology leaders.
"I am happy to fly the flag for 3D printing and Mcor," she commented and says her goal is to create a revolutionary 3D printer that uses paper instead of plastic extrusion, while developing the technology to make 3D printing both affordable and eco-friendly.
She is a regular attendee of the TCT Live and Personalize shows and is passionate about the industry.
Karen E Welke
Karen E Welke is a board of directors member at industry juggernaut 3D Systems and has been at the helm of the company since May 20th 2008. Welke held executive positions for more than 25 years at science and technology giant 3M Corporation where she was group vice-president of its Medical Markets Group.
Upon her appointment to the board at 3D Systems, president and CEO Abe Reichental said Welke's "extensive industry experience, coupled with her comprehensive strategic, operating and international background" would make her a "valuable addition" to the company.
Welke's career has taken her all over the world and she has extensive financial, executive and operating experience both in the US and Europe.
Cathy Lewis is chief marketing officer at 3D Systems and has a prominent media presence acting as a spokesperson on behalf of the company. She joined the business in 2009 and was elected to the top post three years later. Before taking the marketing reins at 3D Systems, Lewis was CEO of venture-financed technology startup Desktop Factory, which specialised on developing low-cost 3D printers.
Lewis is passionate about using 3D printing for educational purposes and in an interview with Ponoko in 2008 stated: "Starting in grade school these technologies will help demonstrate complex math and engineering principals, while in high school they will assist in the completion of designs for robotics and Formula 1 car programs."
Adina Shorr is a member of Stratasys' board of directors and currently serves as the chief executive officer of CellGuide - a fabless semiconductor and design services company that focuses on location and navigation solutions.
Michigan State University alumnus Shorr has been a director of the 3D printing company's board since 2012 and previously served as the CEO of Objet, while her 20-year career has spanned the US and Israel following the very latest in tech developments.
Jennifer A Lewis
Jennifer A Lewis was recruited by Harvard University this year as a pioneer in 3D printing and bioinspired materials. The scientist is internationally recognised as a leader in these fields and she is the first Hansjorg Wyss Professor of Biologically Inspired Engineering at the Ivy League school.
Lewis' research has expanded 3D printing to a more sophisticated level by designing novel inks from a broad range of materials, as well as high-precision 3D printing platforms with miniscule nozzles.
"Our approach is distinct from commercially-available 3D printers because of its materials flexibility, precision and high throughput,” Lewis said.
As Sony Corporation's career development professor and assistant professor of Media Arts and Sciences as the MIT Media Lab, Neri Oxman is positioned at the very heart of the technology world. She has been championing 3D printing in the design and manufacturing world, exploring how the technology can be applied by creating patterns and organic structures using the process.
In 2009, Oxman was named ICON's number one out of the world's top 20 architects with the power to shape the future, while she was selected as one of the top ten most creative people by FASTCOMPANY and named a Revolutionary Mind by SEED Magazine.