Robots Replaces Student During Graduation Due to Coronavirus

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Colleges around the world have been forced to shut down due to the , but a group of students in are not letting the pandemic ruin their graduation.

Using Newme telepresensence robots, students attending Business Breakthrough (BBT) University in Tokyo were able to walk across the stage and accept their diploma, all while self-isolating at home.

The robots were dressed in a cap and gown and fitted with tablets on their heads, allowing students to show their face using Zoom.

Students who attended the graduation remotely operated the robots in what is deemed the 'world's first' online graduation ceremony.

Four students virtually walked across the stage at the Hotel Grand Palace in Tokyo on March 28.

The Newme robot was designed with a tablet as a face and has four wheels that allows it to move.

When the moderator called the name, a 'newme' wearing a graduation gown and hat from BBT University appeared on the tablet with the face of the graduate who operated it, and the diploma was handed over by President Omae Kenichi, according to.

Shugo Yanaka, professor and Dean of Global Business Administration, Faculty of Business Administration, BBT University, who planned the graduation ceremony said: 'While new corona measures are required, the introduction of avatars can realize a warm online graduation ceremony.'

'We hope this initiative will be helpful to educational institutions who are having difficulty holding graduation and entrance ceremonies. '

Newme is an avatar robot that comprises a base, large display, camera, microphone, speakers, and collision sensors. The robot can move around an environment and communicate with a partner in a remote location. 

Shinya Katanozaka, President and CEO of ANA HD, the firm that developed the robots, said: 'ANA HD is built on connecting people and Avatars have the potential to connect people across the world in a way that traditional travel cannot and is a continuation of our core beliefs.' 

'Our vision of a better connected planet will rely on the latest innovations in haptic robotics, VR/AR and AI to transform the way that humans interact.' 

'By placing the world at your fingertips, Avatars will open up new possibilities and help reshape everything from business and education to healthcare and entertainment.'

The coronavirus pandemic began in Wuhan, China December 2019 and has since spread to nearly every country in the world.

There are currently more than 1.2 million cases around the globe and the death toll has surpassed 69,260.

Over the weekend news revealed Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abbe will declare a state of emergency sometime this week in a bid to limit the spread of the virus throughout the country, as there are more than 1,000 confirmed cases in the country.


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