University holds graduation using robot ‘avatars’ for its students

A college in Japan has found a high-tech way to ensure its students can still walk across the stage at graduation — sort of.

The students at the Business BreakThrough University (BBT), like many graduates around the world, risked having their ceremony canceled due to the current global health crisis.

However, BBT found a solution. The college, which held its graduation on March 28, arranged to have several students receive their diplomas as digital “avatars” of themselves — complete with screens for faces and caps and gowns on robot “bodies.”

Basically, the students were able to navigate the ceremony from the comfort and safety of their homes while their avatars wheeled up to the school’s president, who handed them certificates.

Credit: Business BreakThrough University

“When I enrolled, I never thought I would operate an avatar to attend the graduation ceremony,” one of the students told LADBible.

The graduation, which took place at the Hotel Grand Palace in Tokyo, actually only featured four robots. Other students experienced the ceremony by dialing into a Zoom call.

Still, the avatars certainly made an impression — one that BBT thinks may influence other schools moving forward.

Credit: Business BreakThrough University

“We hope this initiative will be helpful to educational institutions who are having difficulty holding graduation ceremonies and entrance ceremonies,” Shugo Yanaka, the dean of BBT’s global business administration, told LADBible.

The event also drew the curiosity of several social media users, who expressed their shock that the high-tech ceremony.

Credit: Business BreakThrough University

“Due to the current quarantine measures, I’ve heard of remote studying,” one Twitter user wrote. “But the Business Breakthrough University (BBT) in Japan took it a step further: Remote graduation!”

This isn’t the first time robots have been used to help students graduate. In 2018, the University of Glasgow used similar machines to help three of its students receive their diplomas remotely, according to the BBC.

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