Walking through a cemetery is often eerie and rather uncomfortable, especially knowing there were people who lost their lives and were buried in the ground beneath you. It’s not unusual to wonder about those who are deceased and what their stories were. When looking at gravestones you know their names and their life span, but who were they really? What did they do with their lives and what were they known for. Soon these questions will be answered with as little as a scan of your cell phone.
QR codes, the two-dimensional barcodes that have grown to be extremely popular over the past few years, are making their way now onto gravestones. Starting in the UK and quickly moving to America, gravestone producers are offering the addition of QR codes to direct those interested to an interactive memorial for the person who has died.
These interactive memorials can include anything from pictures, videos and contributions from family and friends. There are even people now who are creating their own memorials so that they can structure how it’s laid out and how they’re remembered.
Imagine being able to structure what people see in your memorial, what your last thoughts were and what messages you’d like to send to family and friends. This also creates easy access to family tree information, making it much easier than digging for birth records in the future.
Of course with new technology such as this, there are bound to be challenges. The idea of putting a QR code on a structure that’s made to last for hundreds of years creates a number of difficulties. You can go to any graveyard and see how different recent gravestones look compared to stones that are hundreds of years old. As a gravestone weathers and changes over time, a QR code can become much more difficult to read and scan. Textures like sandstone and granite will change and the codes you have etched into them will change as well.
Another challenge you run into with adding these codes to gravestones is the technology itself. While the QR code technology has been around for a couple decades already, it’s never a sure thing that it will be around in another 10 to 20 years. With technology always evolving, another two-dimensional technology could replace the QR code, making the current QR codes obsolete and unreadable.
By creating a memorial for someone online, this creates another issue regarding the website URL. With the Internet constantly evolving, URL technology could very well change within the next several decades. This puts you at risk of losing all of these records over time. While the current technology appears to be here to stay, you never know what the future holds for us and what advancements will be made to completely change the way we do things today.
The idea of preparing for your own death may be morbid, but it’s a reasonable thought process. Rather than being remembered for a tragic accident, a health condition, etc, why not shape exactly how you want to be remembered and implement that as an interactive memorial. This way, the next time someone’s walking through a graveyard and sees the QR code on your gravestone, they have the opportunity to learn about who you really were, not just when you passed away.
Patricia Goldbum is a freelance writer focusing on technology. As a business owner, Patricia has just implemented barcode stickers and labeling to stay on track and keep her business organized.
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