It’s a bad thing to say “technology has gone too far” when your job is to write about technology, but a British funeral home has evoked that reaction with its latest invention: digital tombstones.
QR Memories, a subsidiary of Chester Pearce Associates, has begun installing QR (Quick Response) codes into the granite of tombstones. The technology, a 1.5 inch square which can be read with a smartphone, can also be affixed to benches, urns or most anywhere else your grieving family members can think of to embarrass you after you’re dead.
As proof that for every seller there is a buyer, the first of these high tech tombstones has already been sold. Tim Tuttiett, a man who apparently never met a “T” he didn’t like, was the initial recipient of the service after he passed away from heart failure. His wife, Gill, via a Chester Pearce press release, explains the decision thusly: “Tim was a wonderful man, and had a huge character which impacted on a lot of people. When we chose to have his ashes buried and a memorial placed onto the grave, we were given the opportunity to have a QR code fitted. This has given us a chance to bring what Tim meant to us to many other people by way of the website, and helps us keep his memory alive.”
Installation of a QR code will set you back somewhere in the neighborhood of $475 and then an additional $150 provides you with unlimited hosting, administration and set up, according to a report in the Daily Telegraph. Additionally, the website is interactive, allowing anyone with the password to update the site — possibly to inform readers about a resurrection or the potential for zombification.
The QR codes, which work like the sort of barcode you might find on a can of peas at the grocery store, are actually based on technology gotten from the auto industry. They are considered more useful than a standard UPC tag because of their fast readability and large storage capacity.
The innovation came about not as a ploy to bilk the bereaved, but rather as an opportunity to further extend a tribute to those who are no longer with us. “To be able to scan a code and read about the people buried there immediately will bring memorials to life,” writes Stephen Nimmo, managing director of QR Memories. “Suddenly a simple plot in the ground with a stone on it reveals so much more.”
How long before these things get Facebook?