Across the world, students are missing their graduation ceremonies amid the global coronavirus pandemic as more countries go into lockdown and ban large gatherings.
But a university in Japan has held a graduation ceremony for students using avatar robots remotely controlled by the graduating students from their homes.
The avatar robots, dubbed “Newme” and developed by ANA Holdings, were dressed in graduation caps and gowns for the ceremony, complete with tablets projecting the graduates’ faces.
“When I entered this university, I never thought I would control an avatar robot to receive a diploma,” a master’s degree graduate, Kazuki Tamura, said while attending the ceremony live from the tablet.
“I think this is truly a novel experience to receive a certificate in a public area while I am in a private space.”
Business Breakthrough (BBT) University in Tokyo said it hoped the approach could be used as a model for other schools that wish to avoid large gatherings during the pandemic.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared a state of emergency earlier this month for the capital, Tokyo, and six other districts, which will last for about a month.
This report was produced and edited by Al Jazeera NewsFeed’s Linh Nguyen.