Marita Cheng was the 2012 Young Australian of the Year and is a technology entrepreneur and women in technology advocate. Marita Cheng is the founder and CEO of aubot (formerly 2Mar Robotics), which makes a telepresence robot, Teleport, for kids with cancer in hospital to attend school, people with a disability to attend work and to monitor and socialise with elderly people. As well as telepresence robots, Aubot does research and development in robotic arms, virtual reality and autonomous mapping and navigation. Aubot has been recognised on a global scale through the Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia in 2016, and through being called "the coolest girl at CES 2014" by VentureBeat magazine.
While studying at Singularity University’s flagship 10-week program, the Graduate Studies Program, located at NASA Ames and on a full scholarship funded by Google, Marita cofounded Aipoly with Alberto Rizzoli. Profiled in TechCrunch within a week of the first prototype being made, Aipoly allows blind people to recognise objects using computer vision and has been downloaded 500,000 times in 23 languages since its launch at CES 2016.
Marita was named the 2012 Young Australian of the Year for demonstrating vision and leadership well beyond her years as the Founder and Executive Director of Robogals Global. Noticing the low number of girls in her engineering classes at the University of Melbourne, Marita rounded up her fellow engineering peers and they went to schools to teach girls robotics, as a way to encourage girls into engineering. While on academic exchange at Imperial College London, Marita expanded the group to London and through innovation and sheer will, Marita then expanded Robogals throughout Australia, the UK, the USA and Japan. The group runs robotics workshops, career talks and various other community activities to introduce young women to engineering. Robogals has now taught 70,000 girls from 11 countries our robotics workshops across 32 chapters. Robogals has been internationally recognised though the Global Engineering Deans Council Diversity in Engineering Award (2014), Grace Hopper Celebration’s Anita Borg Change Agent Award (2011), and the International Youth Foundation’s YouthActionNet Fellowship (2011).
Marita will be presenting on robotics and the future of work at Ozwater’18
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