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London - As an enduring tribute to a life lived, gravestones have changed little over the centuries. Until now.
Funeral directors are giving headstones a rather modern makeover – by making them interactive.
Barcodes are being placed on the gravestones to allow visitors to find out more about the person laid to rest there. When scanned on a smartphone, the square codes – known as Quick Response or QR codes – launch a website which contains a biography of the deceased.
The page can include a profile of the person, photographs and videos of them and tributes from family and friends.
Loved ones can use a password to create and update the website and add more comments or memories as time goes by.
The idea enables visitors to graveyards to learn more about those buried there than just their name, age and date of birth.
If they know the password, they can even add their own tributes.
As well as graves, the QR codes can be added to memorials and tribute plaques on benches.
The first funeral director to provide the service in the UK is Chester Pearce, in Poole, Dorset.
Managing director Stephen Nimmo said the QR codes are etched onto a small granite or metal square before being embedded or glued on to a gravestone.
He added: “I thought we could use technology to provide more information about people who have died to bring back the memories.
“People can make their websites as simple or as complicated as they like and add as much or as little information as they want.
“They will be able to use a photo gallery, upload video, and constantly update a page.
“For example, if someone has died but their daughter becomes a mum, you could add that.
“I am a very traditional funeral director but using this technology is a positive way to help remember people. People often wander around cemeteries and look at gravestones and wonder who that person was. By using the QR codes they can find out.”
But the technology doesn’t come cheap, with the QR codes costing up to £300 and an additional charge of £95 (about 1 100) for the hosting and set-up of the website.
One of the first to use the technology is Gill Tuttiett, who has had a QR code installed on the grave of late husband Timothy at St Mary’s church in Lytchett Matravers, near Poole.
Mrs Tuttiett, a 53-year-old nursery manager, decided to install the code because her husband, who died last year of heart failure at the age of 55, was always interested in new technology. Visitors who scan the code on his gravestone see information about the former airport operation manager’s family, schooling and career. Mrs Tuttiett said: “I think this is the way forward and Tim would have wanted that.” - Daily Mail