Months after the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay became the first major institute to scrap face-to-face lectures this year amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, it held its 58th convocation in "virtual reality mode" on Sunday.
While the students couldn't congregate for the convocation, where Nobel prize winner Professor Duncan Haldane was invited as the chief guest, they were seen along with the guests in their digital avatars on a virtual stage, reports the NDTV.
This is for the first time in the institute's 62-year history that it gave away medals, awards and degrees to the virtual avatars of the students on the day of convocation.
"There is a lesson for everyone involved in research," Professor D Haldane, a British-born physicist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2016, said during the nearly two-hour long event, which was streamed live.
"India is poised to stake its claim as one of the world's great innovation hubs," said Guest of Honour Stephen A Schwarzman, described as a "world-renowned investor and philanthropist" in an official statement. The guests addressed the students virtually.
A video shows the digital avatar of a student being awarded "President of India's Medal for 2020".