Jing-Tao (Tommy) LIU

Jing-Tao (Tommy) LIU

Engineer, designer in Champaign-Urbana, IL, US


Tommy Jing-Tao (/ˈdʒɪŋˈtaʊ/) is a self-taught engineer with a multi-disciplinary background in web development, UI/UX design, and hardware prototyping – and he's always passionate about learning new things. His areas of interest mainly focus on Human-Computer Interactions, Education Technology, and Robotics.

Work Experience

2021 — Now
Champaign, IL, USA

Pixel Playgrounds Lab (pixelplaygrounds.org/) is a research lab at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, focusing on the intersection of physical spaces, information, technology, and people to support collaborative learning. I'm working with Prof. Mike Tissenbaum and his current Ph.D. student Casey Smith.

• Working on an HCI project for K-12 students to conduct remote interactive learning, currently in partnership with several schools in the Champaign-Urbana area and New York
• Conducting R&D works on removing visual echoes in a projector-camera system with efficient image processing algorithms and image segmentation models that run on a low-cost hardware platform (i.e. Raspberry Pi)
• Developing a stable real-time video calling backend with WebRTC via AWS services and Twilio Video SDK
• Building a cloud infrastructure to interact with remotely deployed devices for debugging and data collection

2016 — 2021
Hong Kong

CocoRobo is an EdTech company I co-founded with Dr. Tony Haiyang Xin in 2016. Based in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, we provide a one-stop solution for STEAM education. The company has secured two rounds of angel funds (around HK$ 6M), and we have collaborated with over 500 K-12 schools across the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

• Built and managed an R&D team of 10 people consisting of engineers and designers from the scratch
• Developed over 5 software tools that coordinate the project-based learning methodology that helped over 20K educators and students better conduct CT (computational thinking) teaching and learning
• Designed and prototyped two sets of patent-pending IoT and AI hardware products that were used by over 500 K-12 schools in Hong Kong and Mainland China, including circuit evaluation and firmware development
• Designed and built over 50 interactive hardware projects relevant to music, light, robotics, and artificial intelligence for education purposes to acquire important partnerships (e.g., Tencent & Google Hong Kong) in workshops and exhibitions
• Promoting our one-stop solutions and manifesto to the public by giving talks to teachers and engineers in the Education industry across Hong Kong (e.g., Google) and Mainland China (National Institute of Education Sciences)

2019 — 2020
Hong Kong

• Led a group of 3 undergraduate students in the department to build a web app for K-12 users to learn how machine learning work through a visual programming environment
• Conduct team meetings on a bi-weekly basis, helping students to solve ongoing issues and discussing new features
• The project was given the Final Year Project Awards for the 2019-2020 semester


Shenzhen, China

Gave a presentation about how I implemented Python and MicroPython to create a series of software programming environments and hardware platforms, including visual block programming, edge computing, computer vision, and model training.


2021 — Now
Bachelor of Science at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Champaign, IL, USA

Minor in Electrical Engineering.