Marita Cheng is the founder and CEO of Aubot, which makes a telepresence robot, Teleport, for people with longterm illness or a disability to attend school or work remotely. Teleports have been sold to offices, museums, coworking spaces, for kids with cancer in hospitals and for security. She also 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 recognises 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.
Marita has given over 350 speeches since 2012 in 15 countries including at 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. 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).
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.