Company Offers Voices from Beyond the Grave
Graveyards are not what they used to be.
The Japanese company Ishinokoe, or "voice of stone," recently announced that it would begin offering tombstones that have a Design QR code, which basically looks like a barcode.
When a graveside visitor take a photo of the image with their cell phone, he or she is granted access to a mobile site on the Internet that includes photos, a family history and more.
Only family members or others who know the deceased are able to open a chamber door on a tombstone to gain access to the barcode.
The markers - which are made of marble - cost about $10,000. A monthly administration fee must also be paid - $50 for the first three years.
"We already have a patent and should get another this month, but we hope this service is not just for our customers, but the entire funeral industry," Yoshitsugu Fukuzawa, head of Ishinokoe, told Reuters.
Gravesite technology is not a new phenomenon, however, and it is not just happening in Japan. A company based in the United States, Memory Medallion, was founded in 2000. According to its Web site, the Memory Medallion "is a digital memory device encased in stainless steel. It is accessed with an electronic wand that is attached to a laptop computer or a hand-held PDA device. A photo and a story of up to 600 words are stored on the Memory Medallion and can be downloaded by visitors. The Memory Medallion is permanently affixed directly to a memorial."
And of course, there are more and more Web sites these days dedicated to remembering people exclusively online. Just check out sites such at VirtualMemorials.com and Tributes.com. You can even memorialize your pets at Critters.com and Gadzoo.com.
Dying will never be in. But technology is, and lots of people are managing to make some money by helping people memorialize their loved ones in new ways.
Thomas A. Parmalee
Innovative Businesses Writer