Summing up the life of a dearly departed relative with just a terse description etched in stone may become a thing of the past with the introduction of interactive codes on gravestones.
One funeral company in the southern English town of Poole is offering to add quick response (QR) codes to headstones which will link smartphones to online memorials illustrated with pictures, videos and contributions from family and friends.
Chester Pearce funeral directors said QR barcodes enable visitors to learn a lot more about the person buried beneath gravestones than the age, dates of birth and death and the odd biblical passage or literary quote usually written on them.
"Itís about keeping peopleís memories alive in different ways," managing director Stephen Nimmo told Reuters.
"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."
QR codes, a barcode that can be scanned with smartphones or QR scanners, allow users to pull up information on the internet and are frequently used in advertising and marketing campaigns.
"Itís a new technology, itís something that there will be people who like it, there will be people who donít and thatís the same in everything that we do," Nimmo said.
He said he has seen demand growing for QR codes as they catch the imagination of the public.
Chester Pearce charge about 300 pounds ($477) to create a code that can also be placed on gravestones, benches, trees or plaques and is linked to a page on their QR Memories website.
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