Talking Dead | QR codes on gravestones

8:09 AM, Sep 6, 2012   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- At Oakland Cemetery, the dead talk. You just have to know the right phone number to call.

Few men consider life and death as often as the director for Atlanta's most famous cemetery. "It's a great way to contemplate yourself and your life as an individual," David Moore said.

Visitors here are struck with that human condition: wanting to be remembered.

"We have benches throughout the park. People sit and stare at gravestones," Moore said. "Perhaps that's something that is going through their minds: What should I leave behind? When I'm gone, who's going to remember me?"

That desire to leave something behind has resulted in monuments and mausoleums, gardens and gravestones. What's popular in death has changed through the decades.
Moore says as technology's tentacles reach deeper into our lives, it's inevitable it will spread to the graveyard.

Oakland's two cell phone tours are popular with visitors like Adwoa Uzen. While waiting for a restaurant to open across the street, she and a friend dialed into the cell phone tour on the African American section of the historic cemetery. The cell phone tours and smart phone applications put faces to the names carved in stone.

"Just to be around a space where you know there is a life to all the people who are here," Uzen said.

Soon, QR codes will appear outside aging mausoleums within Oakland. The foundation will use the technology to raise money to match a federal grant that to fix the aging structures.
But there's a bigger trend on the way: QR codes on gravestones.

A Seattle company called Quiring Monuments can now include the square codes on headstones. When scanned with a smart phone, they'll lead to a web page with pictures and video. It's part of their 'Living Headstones" line. The movement is popular in Europe and gaining ground in the U.S. A Quiring spokesman told 11Alive News they've sold hundreds in the last year.

The historian in Moore loves the idea: "We get it from everyone who walks through the gate, they're dying to... well, no pun intended. They're thirsting for the history that lies beneath our feet," he said. "You'll see the old and you'll see the new, because this place continues to evolve." QR Codes on Graves: maybe the next evolution of death.

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