Japanese University Uses Robots For Virtual Graduation Ceremony

Students at Tokyo’s Business Breakthrough University obviously couldn’t attend their graduation ceremony in person, but that didn’t mean the school was willing to let the occasion go unnoticed. Using remote-controlled, Zoom-enabled robots, they threw a ceremony unlike any other and it was a truly memorable experience.

  1. It all went down on March 28 at the Hotel Grand Palace in Tokyo. The “Newme” mobile robots had a tablet in place of the head which were able to get individual students up on screen via Zoom. BBT’s staff members in attendance were in charge of using the remote controls to move the robots across the stage as their diplomas were presented. Talk about a graduation ceremony you’ll never forget!
  2. Four students and a few administrators did show up in person. It’s not as if there was no one at the graduation ceremony, but here certainly weren’t many actual people. The robots, made by ANA Group’s “Newme,” did most of the heavy lifting here.
  3. The “Newme” robots are being used for other purposes too. The robots said to have customizable avatars that can be used for museum tours and other activities that are currently impossible due to the current pandemic. Using them as part of a graduation is a super cool idea, you have to admit.
  4. Students and family members of BBT’s students got to watch online. They tuned in from all over Japan to see their loved one graduate, and graduates themselves were able to experience walking across stage and receiving their diploma from the university’s president, Omae Kenichi. Thanks to Zoom, just a few robots were able to help nearly the entire graduating class to join in.
  5. Other than that, the ceremony was pretty traditional. Kenichi gave a speech, the students and the robots wore caps and gowns, and the accomplishment of completing the program was celebrated. A robot graduation may be unconventional but it’s also kind of genius, don’t you think?
Piper Ryan is a NYC-based writer and matchmaker who works to bring millennials who are sick of dating apps and the bar scene together in an organic and efficient way. To date, she's paired up more than 120 couples, many of whom have gone on to get married. Her work has been highlighted in The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Cut, and many more.

In addition to runnnig her own business, Piper is passionate about charity work, advocating for vulnerable women and children in her local area and across the country. She is currently working on her first book, a non-fiction collection of stories focusing on female empowerment.