Interview with Eliza Y. Du, PhD, CEO of Integram, Inc. by Joanna Liu

Posted Monday, September 11, 2017 at 12:53 PM

Associate Program Officer, National Academy of Engineering

"Eliza Du is the CEO of a startup company, Integem, Inc., that develops artificial intelligence algorithms for holographic augmented reality. She was interviewed by EngineerGirl contributor Joanna Lu."

Interview with Eliza Y. Du, PhD, CEO of Integram, Inc. by Joanna Liu

PostedMonday, September 11, 2017 at 1:00 PM

Interview with Eliza Y. Du, PhD, CEO of Integram, Inc. by Joanna Liu

Joanna Liu (JL): Hi Dr. Du

Thank you for taking the time to talk to me about how girls in high school can get into engineering.

You are the CEO of a startup company, Integem, Inc. (http://www.integem.com), located in Silicon Valley, California. Can you tell me what your company is working on?

Eliza Du (Dr. Du): Integem develops Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms to intelligently recognize people and body movements and then immerse them into a computer rendered virtual world in real-time, giving users personalized, interactive, and highly relevant holographic AR experiences.

JL: Can you explain what holographic AR is?

Dr. Du: Holographic Augmented Reality intelligently recognizes people and their body movements and then immerses them into a computer rendered virtual world in real-time, giving users personalized, interactive, and highly relevant holographic experiences. It involves computer vision and artificial intelligence. You can be anywhere, choose any life style, and travel through time to explore the world while communicating with others. Businesses can generate virtual stories to brand their products without being involved into complicated engineering process.

I got interested into engineering when I was in middle school. I worked for my uncle’s small electronics store, then went to university in China and majored in Electrical Engineering. After that, I earned a PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Maryland.


JL: After you graduated, you became a professor of Engineering at Purdue and at the United States Naval Academy. What were your research interests? 

Dr. Du: My research interests were on developing top-notch biometrics and medical imaging systems. Biometrics involves identifying a person by her fingerprint, face, eyes, etc. Image processing and pattern recognition helps a machine, computer, or robot to "see" the world as a human sees it and to also "see" what a human cannot see. 

JL: Do you enjoy teaching?

Dr. Du: I enjoy teaching and working with students. The most important aspect of teaching is engaging students in critical thinking and motivating them to practice and pursue future learning.  I have supervised many graduate and undergraduate students’ research projects. 

They are young, hungry for learning, and always think outside the box. Actually, students don’t know enough at this point to have boxes, and that is a big advantage in innovative design.

JL: You left university research, got into industry and then left it to build your own startup company. What made you decide to become an engineering Entrepreneur?

Dr. Du: I believe AR is the new frontier and is the next big thing.

JL: Which are the three most important requirements for girls who want to succeed in engineering?

Dr. Du; 1) A deep interest in the field; 2) Persistence; and 3) Being good at math, physics, computer, and/or chemistry.

JL: How easy is it for a woman to climb up the ladder in a male dominated world? What was your greatest motivation in succeeding?

Dr. Du: The beauty of engineering is that its success is very objective and measurable. It is irrelevant whether you are a woman or a man. My greatest motivation was my passion for innovation in the engineering fields.

JL: What would you recommend to inspire young female students to start an Engineering career? What advice would you give to them?

Dr. Du: Do what you love. Nothing can stop you, but learning fundamental principles is very important. 

JL: Any other stories or comments you would like to share with readers of Engineer Girl?

Dr. Du:  Engineering is really a cool field to get into. You not only dream about things, but you can turn your dreams into reality. Being an engineer, you are literally a dream maker for the world!