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Telepresence robots with caps and gowns look a hell of a lot less silly during a pandemic

Telepresence robots with caps and gowns look a hell of a lot less silly during a pandemic

Most students at Tokyo’s Business Breakthrough University could not physically attend their graduation ceremony this March, but a lucky few were selected to collect their diplomas the, uh, old-fashioned way, via cap-and-gown-draped robots with tablets for faces.

Two students each from the business school’s graduate and undergraduate programs were bestowed with the responsibility of remotely controlling the “Newme” telepresence machines during the ceremony, according to Reuters. The hunched-looking robots were procured “with the special cooperation of ANA Holdings,” the school said. ANA operates Japan’s largest airline.

“I think this is truly a novel experience to receive a certificate in a public area while I am in a private space,” said Kazuki Tamura, a student who received his master’s degree via the telepresence machine.

Fast Company has reached out to the online-only, for-profit school, which thoroughly documented the ceremony on its blog, to find out how the lucky four were chosen to wheel around freely while the rest of the students looked on using Zoom.

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