Headstones haven’t exactly been on the cutting edge of technology over the past few hundred years. Sure there have been improvements in production machinery and aesthetic materials such as granite. But to your average observer, a headstone pretty much looks like it always did. But is Silicon Valley about to hit the cemetery?
A few companies think so, and hope to be pioneering memorials of the future.
It’s not easy capturing a person’s life within the confines of a stone. Space is limited for communicating a message and there is also the question of durability. Do these words capture the essence of what he/she was about? And for who?
The new technology hitting the market are aims to solve these issues, while offering enhanced ways for friends & family to express their grief.
Solar powered LCD Screens:
Although the idea for screens has existed for quite some time, it could pave the way for more advanced models. A few overseas companies based in the US & The Netherlands have designed a solar powered LCD screen that goes inside a headstone or gravestone. From there, families are able to load up digital content such as: seasonal messages, tributes, image slideshows, or a collection of cherished video memories.
It’s difficult to say how popular these screens have been with the public. One obvious question surrounding the product relates to longevity- how long will these screens last for? And how much maintenance will be required to keep it working? Despite these issues, these LCD screens are still groundbreaking for the industry and do offer a possible glimpse into the future.
QR Code Technology:
Quick response codes (QR codes) are fairly old news but the technology has recently been used in a few memorial start ups. The idea works almost the same as scanning a product at your local supermarket. Except a person at the grave site can scan a memorial QR code using their phone, and download information about the deceased. And this is where things get interesting.
From there, the deceased’s physical memorial can be integrated into a number of online platforms. Users could be lead to a site which stores a collection of digital memories, a place to write an obituary, or they could even access genealogical records. Quiring Monuments, a US based company have begun offering QR code service for customers. To get a better idea of how the process works, click on the video below.
Augmented reality has been a hot topic over the media and it seems that the technology is probably going to make it’s way into the graveyard soon. One US based company, Digital Memorial, are creating a few applications that aim to change the whole cemetery experience for a visitor. And if their goal is successful, it could be a real game changer.
One product that’s particularly interesting is their memorial glasses, which will be worn by visitors upon entering the cemetery. From there, the visitor can be guided to the deceased’s plot, watch a tribute video of the deceased, or see their family history.
The way of the future in Australia?
While there are companies overseas moving into this space, the move towards digital headstones is still quite slow. In Australia, it’s almost unheard of. But with increasing trends such as online memorials and tributes, there does seem to be a technological demand. People want new ways to grieve and remember their loved ones. And with the rising costs of burial space in cemeteries, the shift towards a ‘digital burial’ that occupies less cemetery space maybe a trend of the future.