Since graduation ceremonies have been cancelled or postponed, many students are going to miss out on a beloved rite of passage due to government and expert advice against holding large gatherings.
But students at one Japanese school were able to overcome this setback and use the power of the internet to attend a high-tech version instead.
Robots fitted with tablets livestreamed the faces of the graduates as they collected their diplomas from the Business Breakthrough University in Tokyo. The student’s avatars were broadcast across the Zoom platform and attached to “NewMe” robots developed by ANA holdings.
The robots were dressed in the traditional graduation caps and gowns and had a special device installed for collecting diplomas. It appears that the ceremony was organised so that the wheeled robots wouldn’t have to climb any stairs.
Professor Shugo Yanaka, the planner of the “Avatar Graduation Ceremony” said, “the introduction of these avatars can provide a warm online graduation ceremony. I would be happy if this initiative could be helpful for all educational institutions who are worried about holding graduation and entrance ceremonies at this time.”
“When I started this course, I never thought I would be graduating as a robot avatar,” said one student, “to receive a diploma in a public ceremony while I’m still sat in my own home is definitely a first for me.”
Is there anything that robots can’t do?
For more information see the BBT press release (Japanese):