If you’ve ever sat over a beer dreaming up unlikely ways to use technology then rejected your ideas as too much, here’s an idea that may change your mind. Companies in America, Denmark and the UK are adding QR codes to gravestones that can be used to view online memorials via smartphones.
The idea of the providing an interactive memorial implemented with QR (Quick Response) barcodes that can be scanned to access an Internet site, has been pioneered by Quiring Monuments in the US.
The idea is that these living headstones can include photographs, videos and memories of the dead person from family and friends as shown in this promotional video:
The idea has now spread to Europe. In the UK, funeral directors Chester Pearce offer QR codes engraved in granite or metal that attach to headstones. benches, plaques, buildings and even trees. The codes link to a page on its QR Memories website.
Managing director of the company, Stephen Nimmo, said that the barcodes keep people's memories alive in different ways:
"When you lose somebody, whether it be suddenly or ongoing, you can really struggle with things. Talking about them is very important, keeping their memory going is very important and this is just an add-on to that."
Meanwhile, according to a BBC report, the largest gravestone manufacturer in Denmark has seen the potential of QR codes, which it incorporates into standalone gravestones.
According to the firm’s director Neils Kristial Nielsen:
"It's a good way to tell the story of a person. And we all have a story. Both the farmer, the director, they all have a story. And also it makes a visit to the graveyard much more interesting."
This idea is endorsed by the church council of the Danish town of Holbaek which has purchased several QR chips to memorialize local dignitaries, such as a former mayor and the founder of Denmark’s Venstre political party who passed away decades ago, as a way of preserving local history.
Genealogists and historians have always found graveyards a useful resource. If the QR idea takes hold memorials will be able to tell much more to future generations.