QR codes on your tombstone: how technology is changing death

qr code tombstone

qr code tombstone

Ah, QR codes: those strange little pixelated squares that appear on everything from cans to magazines. They may have been called “revolutionary”, but they’re also an annoying waste of time if they’re not used correctly. But would you stick one on your tombstone?

Yes, it’s a thing — a number of companies in countries like the US, Denmark and the UK have been doing it for a while — but now it seems the trend is filtering down into emerging markets too.

South African-based Ever Me will place a custom QR code on anything from your gravestone to a nearby bench, which, when scanned by a curious passer-by, will show them more about what you did when you walked the earth. The digital tribute can include anything from a basic obituary or biography to a photo gallery, a few videos and even GPS coordinates, so you can share maps to the grave location and where the funeral was held.

You can even include a comments section for family and friends to share their thoughts and memories about your life, and lock it all away behind a password if you want to reserve it for the people who really knew you. After all, as EverMe’s managing director Admari Wilson points out, “our lives are more than a dash between two dates.”

It may be just a small QR code, but it’s an interesting additional to an industry that has remained essentially the same for hundreds of years. Even grieving has changed, now that people are able to create memorial blogs and websites, and the deceased can almost carry on living through their Facebook page.

Other people have been buried with their cellphones below gravestones etched with their mobile number, and their families have continued to pay their phone bills so they can listen to them ‘speak’ when the phone isn’t answered and leave them voicemail messages.

That’s just what we’re capable of now. A future where tablets are so cheap that people will be able to safely embed them into their tombstones along with all the elements of their digital lives. Then again, they might not have to. With sophisticated enough image recognition (along with GPS and other information) someone wearing whatever Google’s Project Glass evolves into might be able to learn everything about you just by looking at your tombstone, or memorial plaque. That’s without even going into the scary sci-fi notions about putting so much of our consciousness into the digital realm that it continues evolving after our deaths.

If you think your family’s likely to pull this kind of stunt though, it’s even more incentive to keep certain parts of your browsing experience in incognito mode.

Image: Quiring Monuments



Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest in digital insights. sign up

Welcome to Memeburn

Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest in digital insights.