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Japanese Students Use Robots To Attend Graduation Ceremony Amid Coronavirus Fear

Japanese students in the country’s capital, Tokyo, attended their graduation ceremonies by using robots before the nation declared a state of emergency concerning the coronavirus pandemic.


Business Breakthrough (BBT) University graduate students in Tokyo, Japan, were on the verge of missing out on a traditional public graduation. This was as concern over public gathering in the country grew due to the coronavirus pandemic.


In other not to miss out completely, they used Newme telepresence robots. These Newme devices are also popularly called avatar robots. The students were able to use the robots to stand in for themselves at the event.


They mounted digital tablets on the heads of the robots. These tablets showed the faces of respective students who were present via a Zoom conference call. Thus, they were able to be virtually present at the event that took place at the Hotel Grand Palace in Tokyo.


To further give it a feel of the real thing, the organisers dressed the robots in graduation gowns and hats. Meanwhile, the tutors had to be physically present to perform some of the ceremonial rites.

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While this was a commendable improvisation, it may not have been possible now. The graduation event had held on 28th March 2020, which is days before Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, has declared a month-long state of emergency in response to the coronavirus pandemic.


Abe made this know on 7th April 2020. The prime minister further said:


“We are not at a stage where rapid nationwide spread is being observed, but some areas are under pressure, so we don’t have the luxury of time.”


Newme robots which the Japanese graduating students used are gaining popularity in the tech world.


CNET reports that in 2019, All Nippon Airways had said that it would use Newme telepresence robots to allow people to experience faraway places without having to travel there in person. The robots would transmit high-definition videos that allow human users to see what the robot sees.


Also, the robots have helped people with debilitating paralysis return to their workplace as robot waiters in some Japanese cafes.


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Onwuasoanya Obinna

A reader of books and stringer of words. Passionate about Science and Tech. When not writing or reading he is surfing the web and Tweeting.

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