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 is the founder and CEO of 2Mar Robotics doing mechanical engineering. She also runs an artificial intelligence company. 2Mar Robotics makes affordable and beautiful telepresence robots – robots which enable people to be in two places at the same time, for people with disabilities, CEOs and busy people! 2Mar will be shipping their first pre-orders in April 2016. Aipoly uses convolutional neural networks on the iPhone and Android phones to identify objects in real-time. Aipoly launched in the App Store in January at CES 2016 (the world’s largest consumer electronics show in the world with 170,000 attendees) and has already won multiple awards in Australia and around the world.
Five weeks after 2Mar was founded in 2013, it received $20,000 from the University of Melbourne’s Melbourne Accelerator Program. Later that year, it received five prizes, including the top award, the Innovation Excellence Award from Tech23 2013, Australia’s most prestigious pitching competition. Following that, 2Mar exhibited at CES 2014, the largest consumer electronics show in the world, with 140,000 participants in Las Vegas, where VentureBeat named Marita “the coolest girl at CES 2014”.
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.
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 MIT Technology Review’s EmTech Singapore (2015), the World Entrepreneurship Forum in France (2014), the World Engineering Education Forum in Dubai (2014), and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts’ World Conference in Hong Kong (2014).
An internationally recognized women in engineering advocate for her work as the founder of Robogals, which has taught 45,000 girls in 9 countries robotics to get them interested in engineering, Marita is now a sought-after keynote speaker.
In 2015, Marita attended Singularity University, located at NASA Ames on a Google scholarship, studying exponential technologies to improve the lives of a billion people within the next 10 years, and has degrees in mechatronics engineering and 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. In her spare time, Marita enjoys reading, travelling and daydreaming.
Web: Marita Cheng’s Blog
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