Home / General / Gesture computing / 17-Year-Old Sophi Points to The Hunger Games and Iron Man as Her Wish-List for Future CAD

17-Year-Old Sophi Points to The Hunger Games and Iron Man as Her Wish-List for Future CAD

Sophi Leporte, Terra Linda High School, modeling in Autodesk Inventor.

Sophi Leporte (age 17) first came in contact with CAD in a class at Terra Linda High School, San Rafael, California. The students were asked to design their own wind turbine, to be printed out later in a 3D printer.

“Though it was a little tough to begin with, I found that once I grasped the concepts, I could move easily around the software, designing my model,” she recalled.

She continues to use the same software, Autodesk Inventor. “The software is pretty simple to understand after a couple of trials, and from there experimentation can help out so much in understanding boundaries and different ways the software works,” she said. “I love that Inventor has so many different options. I honestly could never have imagined that one computer program could accomplish so much before I was exposed to inventor. I also love that it uses not only creativity but also a base of mathematical knowledge to run. Using Inventor, I can blend together my love for expanding and using my imagination with my fondness of logic to create designs.”

She’s currently putting her modeling skills to the test by building a complex roller coaster, quite possibly “the craziest thing” she’s ever designed.

Sophi’s vision of a dream CAD program, one that works the way she feels it should, is inspired by what she saw in Hollywood blockbusters. “In The Hunger Games, the game makers can control a stadium by looking at the 3D model in front of them and adding or taking away things,” she reflected. “I would do something like this if I could make my own software.”

Something in the Iron Man films (beside Tony Stark, played by Robert Downey Jr.) also caught Sophi’s attention. It was the way Stark interacted with his holographic design software. “Similar to Tony Stark’s software use in Iron Man — a 3D visual with a touch screen to add or take away or expand anything. That would be really cool,” she observed.

So far, no commercial holographic CAD solution exists in the market. The closest may be the stereoscopic augmented-reality display from zSpace. It works with a pair of stereo goggles, a tablet-like display, and a stylus as a pointing device. (For more on zSpace and gesture-based modeling, read my previous article “Gesture-Based Design Engineering,” October 2013.)

It’s worth paying attention to what Sophi and her peers have to say about how they prefer to interact with their design software. In less than a decade, they’re the ones who will fill the vacant posts in design, engineering, and manufacturing firms.

Sophi admits she knows lines from the movie Finding Nemo by heart. She’s exploring a range of topics — from calculus and journalism to engineering — to find out what she wants to pursue after school.

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About Kenneth

Kenneth Wong has been a regular contributor to the CAD industry press since 2000, first an an editor, later as a columnist and freelance writer for various publications. During his nine-year tenure, he has closely followed the migration from 2D to 3D, the growth of PLM (product lifecycle management), and the impact of globalization on manufacturing. His writings have appeared in Cadalyst, Computer Graphics World, and Manufacturing Business Technology, among others.


  1. I can fully understand how Sophi, is relating to and using the Inventor Program. Once you learn one of these MCAD programs, life is never fully the same anymore. What do I mean by that you might ask. Well, I have to get up sometimes in the middle of the night because I have a weird idea I have to digitize quickly before I forget it by the time the sun comes up. I am 70 years old and it really does affect me in this way. So with her skills and future in using these programs she will achieve much I am sure. Sophi, will also someday have to get up in the middle of the night to “digitize a dream” like this old guy does that uses the SolidWorks program. I’m happy that this article was published and I hope many young people read it. It just might be that digitizing a dream can make a dream come true. Good Luck to you Sophi.

  2. Marsupial Jaeaponastruugle Ikkerstonepz Kiroukumie

    This girl seems incredible, and at such a young age as well. I would love to see the roller coaster that she has designed. I am not as skilled as she is, I don’t think that I would ever be able to design anything like that on a computer.

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