She was one of only two girls in the cybernetics and artificial intelligence class at the Technical University of Košice, eastern Slovakia, in the early 2010s. Surrounded by thirty wannabe programmers, the Spanish bilingual high school graduate seemed slightly out of place in the binary world of ones and zeroes.
Mária Virčíková (34) was born in Košice and is the CEO and Co-founder of MATSUKO, a deep tech company that aims to revolutionise the way people communicate and collaborate through holograms. She holds a doctorate in artificial intelligence. Her doctoral thesis contributed to the discovery of computational models of empathy for social robots.
She lectured at several universities in Japan and at conferences around the world. She worked as an external consultant for Google and has given several TEDx talks. She was twice selected by Forbes for the prestigious “30 under 30” list.
In September 2020 she received the inaugural European Women in Tech Award.
Yet,Mária Virčíková didn’t feel intimidated. She stuck to her guns and today she’s an award-winning innovator heading a revolution in human communication. With herteam at Matsuko, the Košice- and Paris-based deep tech company that she co-founded, she is bringing virtual teleports to the everyday office space.
They are currently developing holographic software that will soon allow people on the opposing ends of the world to meet as holograms. The special “mixed reality” glasses they are working on should allow users to see the entire person they are talking to and feel like they are standing right next to them, regardless of the actual physical distance in between.
“I always wanted to create technology that could be both cool and essential for the whole world and know no borders,” Virčíková told The Slovak Spectator.
Her efforts and accomplishments were recently awarded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Trade. In September 2020, she stood on the virtual stage among 24 women as one of two Slovaks who received the European Tech Women Awards.
“We managed to show Europe that women can succeed in the Slovak tech field,” she said. “And that highlights that we’re a modern country.”