Educational institutions across the globe are cancelling their events including graduation ceremonies to avoid mass gatherings in the wake of coronavirus crisis. However, a Japanese university made the headlines with its unique convocation ceremony during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Business Breakthrough University in Tokyo held a virtual convocation using robots for its batch of students graduating in the year 2020.  Avatar robots developed by ANA Holdings were used to virtually represent the students and receive degrees on their behalf.

The avatar robots, dubbed as ‘Newme’ were dressed in the graduation gowns and caps similar to human graduates in traditional convocations. Moreover, tablets displaying the faces of graduating students made for the face of the robots during the event. The students participated in real time in the ceremony using Zoom app as robots walked across the stage and received diplomas on their behalf.

Furthermore, as Kenichi Ohmae, President, Business Breakthrough University placed the diplomas on the designated rack mounted on the robot’s midsection, university’s staff applauded and congratulated the young graduates.

Additionally, the university limited the graduation ceremony to just four graduates (or robots) at a time on the stage to highlight the significance of social distancing in the current times.

Notably, the Newme robots have earlier been used by Nippon Airways to show potential travelers faraway destinations or to allow paralyzed people to go to work virtually in cafes.

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Moreover, students in several high schools and universities are also experimenting with games such as Minecraft or several video conferencing apps to make up for their cancelled in-person senior proms and graduation ceremonies.

Besides traditional school ceremonies, educators across the world have already been turning to digital tools to ensure continuity in education as the spread of novel coronavirus refuses to cease.

Stay tuned for more stories on how tech is acting as an essential enabler in the current times of distress amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.