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Robots replace Japanese students for graduation amid COVID-19 crisis

VNT VNT

07:52 | 09/04/2020

Students at the Business Breakthrough University in Tokyo used robotic stand-ins for a graduation ceremony. The robots, dubbed "Newme" by developer ANA Holdings, were dressed in graduation caps and gowns for the ceremony.

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Spring graduation ceremonies in Japan have been cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic, but students at one school were able to attend remotely by controlling avatar robots while logged on at home. Photo: CNET
robots replace japanese students for graduation amid covid 19 crisis
The robots' "faces" were tablets that displayed the faces of the graduates, who logged on at home and controlled the robots via their laptops. Photos: PR Time
robots replace japanese students for graduation amid covid 19 crisis
One by one, the robots motored toward the podium to receive their diplomas. School staff clapped and said "congratulations!" as University President Kenichi Ohmae placed the diplomas on a rack mounted on the robot's midsection.
robots replace japanese students for graduation amid covid 19 crisis
Ipads attached to 'newme' robots replacing graduating students' presence at a ceremony, wear graduation gowns and hats in Tokyo, Japan.
robots replace japanese students for graduation amid covid 19 crisis
The university hopes its approach can be adopted by other schools looking to avoid mass gatherings.
robots replace japanese students for graduation amid covid 19 crisis
"I think this is truly a novel experience to receive a certificate in a public area while I am in a private space," Kazuki Tamura said via his computer avatar when receiving his master's degree diploma.
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