Marita Cheng is the Tasmanian winner of the Women and Leadership Australia awards for Excellence in Women’s Leadership for her work as a women in technology advocate and tech entrepreneur. Marita Cheng was the Young Australian of the Year in 2012, has been listed on Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2016, and the founder and CEO of aubot, which makes telepresence robotic arms for children with cancer in hospital to attend school, people with a disability to attend work, and to monitor and socialise with elderly people.

In 2015, Marita attended Singularity University‘s 10 week flagship Graduate Studies Program. While there, she 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 been downloaded more than 500,000 times and has been translated into 23 languages.

Prior to this, Marita founded Robogals, which encourages girls into engineering careers and tertiary studies, and has taught more than 70,000 girls in robotics workshops. 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 ABC’s Q&A 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).

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