The Sideshow

Your gravestone has an app: Companies sell interactive link for smartphones

Eric Pfeiffer
The Sideshow

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A smartphone can now be used at some grave sites to learn more info about the departed. (Quiring Monuments)

The next time you stop by the cemetery, you may learn a lot more about your dearly departed than their names and a few ceremonial words.

A few companies are now marketing quick response (QR) codes for gravestones, which will allow visitors to connect their smartphones to a website containing a collection of information on a deceased person, including photos, videos and testimonials from family and friends.

"It's about keeping people's memories alive in different ways," Poole, England based Chester Pearce Associates 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 have become commonplace on advertising campaigns, allowing a smartphone owner to scan the bar code on an ad to obtain more information about the product or campaign online.

U.S. customers can get their own QR code gravestones as well. Quiring Monuments, based in Seattle, Wash., has created a video for the company's version of the product:

Of course, adding publicly available information after a person's death raises some issues of privacy and taste. Though there are a few obvious precautions, such as adding password protection to a grave's QR code. In addition, if the product catches on, people will most likely begin stipulating in their estate planning what sort of information they'd want included.

"It's a new technology, it's something that there will be people who like it, there will be people who don't and that's the same in everything that we do," Nimmo said.

Nimmo says Chester Pearce charges customers about $500 for the QR code service, which can be placed on memorial benches or plaques in addition to the grave sites themselves.

Gill Tuttiet purchased one of the QR codes for her late husband, Timothy, and says he would have appreciated the forward-thinking gesture.

"Tim was quite outward-going and game for anything. I think this is the way forward and Tim would have wanted that, and it's making a process that's hard possibly easier," Tuttiet, 53, told Reuters.