Aubot has been recognized 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. Marita has presented about Teleport 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.
In 2015, Marita attended Singularity University's 10-week flagship Graduate Studies Program, held at NASA Ames in Mountain View, funded by a $40,000 scholarship from Google. While there, she cofounded 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 is now available in 23 languages and has been downloaded over 500,000 times.
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 100,000 girls from 11 countries our robotics workshops across 32 chapters. Robogals has been internationally recognized 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 regularly travels around Australia presenting her work including appearing on Q&A on ABC beside two Nobel Laureates and the Chief Scientist of Australia (TV audience 600,000), and alongside Ashton Kutcher at Lenovo’s #TechMyWay (online audience 35,000). As well, she has presented overseas at Foxconn's H.Spectrum by Yonglin Healthcare Startup Conference in Taiwan (2016), the 37th Kumon Japan Instructors Conference in Japan (2016), the World Engineering Education Forum in Dubai (2014), and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts' World Conference in Hong Kong (2014).
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, which included winning awards for mathematics, Japanese and piano. Marita speaks English, Cantonese and Japanese.
Marita has a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechatronics) / Bachelor of Computer Science from the University of Melbourne. She serves on the boards of Robogals Global, the Foundation for Young Australians, and RMIT's New Enterprise Investment Fund, where she helps decide on startup investments, the Victorian State Innovation Expert Panel, and the Clinton Health Access Initiative's Tech Advisory Board. In her spare time, Marita enjoys reading, traveling and daydreaming.
- Entrepreneurship: Engineering Something From Nothing
From teaching thousands of girls how to build robots, to helping the blind navigate their daily lives, to building robots to assist people with disabilities, time and time again, Marita Cheng has managed to create projects with a global impact. Learn the methodology which Marita uses to create projects from just an idea to multi-million dollar enterprises impacting millions of people. From using known concepts such as “3 Month Goals” and “Accountability Buddies” to new ideas such as “The Wall of Change”, and the “Uncomfortable Zone” figure out how you too can choose a project and go from zero to “woah, what did I just create?” in a few short months.
• A framework to get any project (at any stage) off the ground
• “Accountability Buddies” and “The Wall of Change” to ensure you achieve your goals
• Inspiring examples of the concepts being used to create global movements
- “Robot Queen to Change the World”
These are actual headlines from national Australian newspapers. Learn how Marita Cheng went from small town girl living in government housing to conquering the globe as one of Forbes Top 50 Women in Tech in the World, and the second youngest person to become a Member of the Order of Australia. Noticing the limited number of girls in her engineering class, at the age of 19, Marita founded Robogals to inspire girls into robotics, growing the organization into an international movement. She followed that up with artificial intelligence company Aipoly to help the blind identify objects in real time, which resonated with millions of people. And robotics company Aubot, making robots to help people in their everyday lives. Hold on tight as pocket rocket Marita shares how she changed the world.
• The only failure is failure to try
• Do your best at what’s in front of you, and more opportunities will present themselves
• Choose yourself
- Leading Teams Through Your Computer
As the founding CEO of Robogals, Marita led thousands of volunteers throughout the USA, Australia, UK, Japan and New Zealand, to teach 140,000 girls robotics globally. To achieve this huge feat, Marita needed to manage and inspire teams across the globe to take actions - all through her computer. How do you motivate people when they're far away? How do you create community when your team is isolated from one another?
• Creating community around a common vision
• Giving effective feedback and praise to optimise employee engagement
• Frontloading asynchronous communication to set your team up to win
- My Bot, Your Bot, Aubot
What do you think of when you think of a robot? R2D2 or C3PO from Star Wars? Sonny from Isaac Asimov and Will Smith’s I, Robot? Or a robot in a factory stamping out panels for your Toyota? In the future, we were promised robots, so where are they all now? Join Forbes 30 Under 30 robotics founder Marita Cheng on a deep dive of robotics. From robots that coexist alongside us in our everyday environments, to the robots we don’t see behind the scenes, making it easier than ever for us to raise our standard of living, and the robots Aubot has made to help people in their daily lives. What’s happening now, where is it taking us going forward, and when will we finally get our own personal butlers, like Rosie from the Jetsons?
• All the robots helping us today
• The big robotics projects: Where the investment and talent are heading
• Robot trends of the future
- What’s Real with Artificial Intelligence?
What’s actually happening in the world of artificial intelligence? What are people working on? What results are they seeing? Is it increasing productivity? Across the main industries, let’s look at a snapshot of artificial intelligence to see what’s happening. Marita Cheng, cofounder of artificial intelligence company Aipoly, which won Best of Innovation Awards at CES 2017 and 2018, will take you on this journey through the most exciting artificial intelligence companies and projects happening today.
• Overview of what’s hot in artificial intelligence
• Ideas for artificial intelligence projects you could work on in your business
• Examples of companies using AI around the world to transform industries
- Robogals: How Artificial Intelligence Won’t Take Your Job, But Teen Girls Might
When Marita first entered her engineering classes, she thought, “where are all the girls?” And so in her second year at university, she decided to do something about it. She founded Robogals to get girls interested in engineering and technology careers and tertiary studies by going to schools with robots and teaching girls how to build and program them. Now, the organization has taught over 100,000 girls in 11 countries. Awarded a prestigious Churchill Fellowship to study “strategies to get girls interested in engineering”, Marita shares insights from the USA, Canada, the UK, Germany, Jamaica, Japan and Australia on getting girls excited about engineering and giving them the tools to take on any challenge. For her work with Robogals, Marita received the Anita Borg Change Agent Award, Global Engineering Deans Council Diversity Award, and was named the Young Australian of the Year.
• The exciting world of science, technology, engineering, mathematics
• From little things, big things grow
• Scale your impact with technology