Marita Cheng is a technology keynote speaker, one of Forbes Worlds Top 50 Women in Tech, and the founder of Robogals, Aipoly, and Aubot. Marita is an inspirational speaker who has given over 350 speeches since 2012 in 15 countries.
Her high-profile engagements have included appearing on Q&A on ABC beside two Nobel Laureates and the Chief Scientist of Australia (live TV audience of 600,000), and alongside Ashton Kutcher at Lenovo’s #TechMyWay (online audience 35,000). She has spoken before the M.A.P. International CEO Conference in the Philippines in 2016, MIT Technology Review EmTech Singapore in 2015, and the 2014 World Entrepreneurship Forum in Lyon France.
Aubot is the manufacturer of the telepresence robot, Teleport, for people with longterm illness or a disability to attend school or work remotely. Teleports have been sold to offices, museums, co-working spaces, for kids with cancer in hospitals and for security. Marita founded Robogals in 2008 to encourage girls into science, engineering, technology and mathematics. Robogals has taught over 100,000 girls in 11 countries. Chapter universities include CalTech, Georgia Tech, Columbia University and Wellesley.
While attending Singularity University’s 10-week flagship Graduate Studies Program, held at NASA Ames in Mountain View in 2015, Marita co-founded Aipoly. Aipoly’s first application recognizes objects in real-time on a smartphone using convolutional neural networks and relays them to people who are visually impaired. Since launching at CES in January 2016, Aipoly has twice won the CES Best of Innovation Award (in 2016 and 2017), is now available in 23 languages and has been downloaded over 500,000 times.
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Marita was born in Cairns, Queensland, Australia. She grew up in housing commission with her brother and single-parent mother, who worked as a hotel room cleaner. She graduated from high school in 2006 in the top 0.2% of the nation, and that year was awarded Cairns Young Citizen of the Year for her volunteering and extra-curricula efforts.
Marita has a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechatronics) / Bachelor of Computer Science from the University of Melbourne. She has served on the Clinton Health Access Initiative’s Tech Advisory Board.
Marita’s Awards and Accolades
- AM, Member of the Order of Australia (2019)
- Forbes World’s Top 50 Women In Tech (2018)
- Forbes 30 Under 30 (2016)
- 2012 Young Australian of the Year
- American Australian Association Next Generation Leader (2017)
- Asia Society Asia Game Changer Award (alongside architect IM Pei (Lifetime Achievement Award), movie director Zhang Yimou, and the founder of K-Pop and S.M. Entertainment, Soo-Man Lee (2016)
- Grace Hopper Celebration’s Anita Borg Change Agent Award (2011)
- Global Engineering Deans Council Diversity in Engineering Award (2014)
- International Youth Foundation’s YouthActionNet Fellowship (2011)
- Engineers Australia’s Top 100 Most Influential Engineers in Australia (2015)
- Australia’s 60 Most Innovative Engineers (Young Engineers Category) (2016)