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Japanese University Holds Virtual Graduation Ceremony Using Robots

The Business Breakthrough University (BBT) located in Tokyo, Japan conducted a virtual graduation ceremony because of the COVID-19 situation. Students were called into the ceremony by making use of the video-conferencing tool – Zoom – and they were displayed on mobile robots. This is not the first instance where people have opted for online ceremonies. We have seen graduations and even weddings moving to ‘Minecraft’, ‘Animal Crossing’ and other online games ever since the outbreak happened.

Although students at Business Breakthrough University in Tokyo didn’t enjoy a conventional ceremony because of the Coronavirus, they were able to attend their graduation thanks to the advances in technology. The university relied on ‘Newme’ mobile robots along with a tablet for hosting the Zoom call. The graduates were able to walk across the stage and accept their diplomas at the Hotel Grand Palace in Tokyo albeit virtually on March 28.

COVID-19 has managed to infect more than a million people and has resulted in a halt to our everyday life. This means that schools have also closed around the world and that has led students to come up with creative ways for recreating canceled events. Virtual gatherings are becoming more and more common with each passing day, however, BBT University decided to take an unorthodox approach. It made use of remote-controlled robots for imparting a physical aspect to the ceremony.

The ceremony was partially virtual and had four students and some administrators in attendance physically. The Newme robot comes from ANA Group and has been designed to work as a remotely controlled and customizable avatar. It is also being used for museum visits and other outings that have been limited because of the Coronavirus. The Dean of Global Business Administration Professor Shugo Yanaka was the brains behind this whole ceremony. He has said that he is hopeful that the BBT’s ceremony will pave a way for other institutions that are working on holding events.