Visitors to graveyards in the UK may soon be able to learn much more about the people buried there, with the introduction of quick response (QR) codes on headstones.
Chester Pearce in Poole is the first funeral director to offer families the option of interactive gravestones with embedded QR codes.
The £300 QR codes are etched on to small granite or metal squares before being embedded or glued on to the gravestones.
When scanned using a smartphone or tablet, the code launches a personalised web page dedicated to the deceased, complete with pictures, videos and contributions from family and friends.
The QR codes can also be put on memorials and tribute plaques on benches, said Chester Pearce's managing director, Stephen Nimmo.
“It's a simple way of putting more into a memorial than just a few words on a headstone,” Nimmo told BBC News. “Cemeteries are very sacred places – the codes are very small and don't impose on the headstones too much.”
Nimmo said he had first seen the idea used in the in the US. His interest was spurred on further by a visit to the Kremlin Wall necropolis in Moscow, where he saw the graves of former presidents and wanted to know more about their lives.
Gill Tuttiet from Poole was one of the first customers to use the technology for her late husband Timothy. She said that Tim was quite outgoing, and would have loved the idea of being at the forefront of a new concept.
“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 said. She added that the QR codes would also be useful for someone trying to create family trees in the future.
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