Living Headstones Connect Your Phone to the Deceased

I've always loved cemeteries, especially old ones that are filled with traditional standing headstones instead of the modern flat variety. They're a perfect place to wander and take photographs, or just sit and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. I'm particularly drawn to family plots, with their cluster of shared surnames, and usually find myself wondering what sorts of stories are lying beneath the earth.

If the "living headstone" trend started by Quiring Monuments takes off, it might become easy for me to find out. Apparently, all I'll have to do is wave my phone over the headstone. *makes weird ghostly noises*


Quiring Monuments "blends the timeless traditional value of granite headstones with the newest technology available" by adding a QR (quick-response) code to a loved one's headstone. You've probably seen these postage-stamp-sized QR barcodes in magazine ads, business cards, and storefronts lately; they can be scanned by a smartphone, often in order to direct the viewer to a specific website.

If you scan one of Quiring's living monument codes, you'll be taken to a web page that has information about the deceased. Basically, it's a page maintained by Quiring that allows loved ones to add an obituary, family history, photos, comments by friends and relatives, etc., with the option of password-protecting the whole thing.

It's not a bad deal (for $65, you get one Living Headstone code link and a five-year subscription to the Living Headstone personal web page) and I like the idea of being able to see more about the person than just their name and lifespan. However, I'm a little skeptical about the longevity of this technology—is anyone really going to be using QR codes in five or twenty years? Anyone remember the other super-popular barcode fad, the CueCat? No?

Plus, what if the company goes out of business? Instead of all that lovely information about me, my Living Memorial page might just say "404: FILE NOT FOUND." Sad trumpet.

Still, points for creativity. Personally, I'm holding out for the 3D headstone that plays a creepy video montage whenever someone walks nearby, but until then, the QR concept is pretty neat.

What do you think about these "living headstones"? Would you buy one for a loved one?

Image via Flickr/mike__lawrence

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