University holds virtual graduation ceremony with students appearing as avatars

Futuristic footage has shown how students graduated at a tech school at a completely virtual ceremony – complete with their own avatars.

The Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay created a 3D virtual reality platform for 2,000 graduate students to participate as a safety measure in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Students were able to access their digital ceremony using virtual avatars through an application on their smart devices.

In the video of the event, which was held on August 23 and live-streamed on social media, individual students walking up to the stage to receive a medal from chief guest and Nobel laureate Professor Duncan Haldane.

All the participants can use the application to take a virtual tour of the campus and even hang out with friends throughout the entire virtual campus.

Professor Subhasis Chaudhuri, director of the institute, said they created the virtual reality ceremony because they did not want students to “miss out on any of the aspects of the convocation function”.

The departments, student accommodations and popular meeting points for students have been created virtually so that students can engage and experience the ceremony as they would have physically, Mr Sunthar, co-convenor of the Convocation Committee, told the Hindustan Times.

The 3D platform allows students to meet and greet others throughout the entire virtual campus

He added that the 3D platform was built by 20 experts from their School of Design before it was made accessible for students on their phones.

Mr Sunthar said: “It took more than 5,000 person-hours, over two months, to build the whole thing.”

Viewers who watched the ceremony online praised the institute’s considerate move.

One said: “It’s a great honour for all the students! Great initiative.”

“Totally cool. Congratulations to all graduates!” a second added.