Skip to main content

Remember your loved ones with a gravestone QR code

Remember your loved ones with a gravestone QR code


The Anchorage city council will let the codes be used as interactive memorials

Share this story

One day, perhaps, we'll have holograms that appear when we go to the pay our respects at the graves of departed loved ones. They'll show up like a message from Princess Leia, say hello, and disappear after comforting the visitors. Until then, we have a stopgap technology: QR codes.

Easily one of the most maligned inventions in recent years, you can still find the humble black-and-white squares everywhere. That includes cemeteries, as the Anchorage city council has voted to let families place the codes on the local columbarium wall.

For $150, families can see off their loved ones with an interactive obituary hosted online by Quiring Monuments, which explains the process in a promotional video called "Living Headstones® - QR Codes Turn Headstones into Interactive Memborials [sic]." Odd, sure, but it's not the only company that's had the idea: Forever Headstones similarly promises "a much richer experience in memorializing the departed" through the use of QR codes.

For a similar debate about using QR codes at Arlington National cemetery, the Washington Post compared the issue to the well documented "funeral selfie." The negative reactions to both are understandable; it's not Luddism to say new technology interrupts the long-standing funeral tradition. If funerals are meant to give some space for reflection, adding to the established traditions — however well intentioned — is almost bound to look gaudy.