When she was younger, Daniela had a passion for what she called ‘art’. She loved taking things apart and collecting rubbish from around the house to build things with. As she grew up, she moved on from drawing pictures and building things with rubbish to designing furniture. She thought that to make things you had to be an artist, and didn’t realise that she was edging towards engineering. She soon found she had a passion for design, as it allowed her to use her creativity to create tangible and useful things that still look stunning. Very soon she realised she was missing the last piece of the puzzle: engineering. By understanding how things were built and how they worked, she could make her ideas come to life and, importantly, could challenge how they were made. Engineering opened the door for her to come up with crazier and more innovative ideas for the world.
Throughout school, Daniela’s relationship with STEM subjects was shaky at best. One year she would have a teacher that made her love maths or physics, and the very next year she’d have the opposite experience. Daniela still finds these subjects tricky, but over the course of her studies, she realised these subjects could be learnt in a more practical and fun way. She went on to take a master’s degree in Innovation Design Engineering and no longer feels overwhelmed by STEM subjects because she knows she can create magic with them.
Daniela has managed to combine her love of art, science and engineering to create software that is now widely used for 3D design in VR. This innovation - an easy-to-use multi-platform tool for creating 3D models, scenes, and art work - allowed her to start her own business, Gravity Sketch, at just 29 years old. The business originally started as a university project, but already has big-name customers, including Ford and Disney, and is changing how people design by imagining a new future and using engineering to make it happen.