Image of a traditional tombstone with an RFID tag that carries a little more personal data. Via Objecs.
Objecs is selling its Personal Rosetta Stone passive RFID-enabled data tags as an addition to a loved one's tomb stone - you can enter the person's name and choose some represetative symbols, perhaps a small epitaph via the web - then you embed the tag into a larger traditional tombstone. But as green burials grow more common and land for huge cemetaries shrinks, perhaps the company's other product - tag-embedded mini tablets - will become a more standard way to memorialize yourself or those you love, instead of space-hogging tombstones.
Objecs is trying to take the lead in Web 2.0's newer field of object hyperlinking, in which all objects and appliances use RFID, in this case NFC (Near Field Communication) to interact with users. RosettaStone is one of the company's first consumer RFID offerings, and Objecs predicts the data-rich granite tablets will appreciate in value and last at least as long as a tombstone.
Especially in the Northeast U.S., cemetery space is at a premium and as baby boomers die the problem is expected to grow more acute. The trend of green burials is leading some cemeteries to limit or ban traditional tombstones due to the cost and carbon footprint of transporting the slabs of granite. These cemeteries - Maryrest Cemetery in Mahwah, N.J. is one - favor smaller more natural-looking markers instead - a potential market for Objecs' tablets, which are the size of a classic iPod.
In addition, the size of the Objecs tablets involves less resource use, though no lifecycle analysis of gravestones versus the granite tablets has been done, to the best of this writer's research.
When you purchase the basic data tag (around $225 for the granite tablet) from Objecs, you can embed up to 1,000 words of prose about the person being memorialized. When the tag is professionally installed on a tombstone any RFID-enabled phone (such as future iPhones) can scan the tag and read the embedded information. Or the tag is placed on a granite or travertine tablet. The memorial "story," which can include a photo, can be updated via Objecs' web site. The Rosetta Stone tag's internal microchip will use the RFID phone's own magnetic field to power up just long enough to let the phone read the data.
Objects says Rosetta Stone tablets made of granite are to last at least 3,200 years, and both the travertine or granite tables includes what the company calls a 'forever' guarantee, allowing anyone with the password credentials to update or see the memorial entry. The company says it will repair any technology defect or natural weathering or environmental degradation to the tag or tablet (not including vandalism).
Objecs is not the only company that is trying to enrich grave sites - in Japan the Ishinokoe company is making stones with embedded data bar codes which allow most Japanese mobiles to access data and photos of the deceased. What's hard to decide is if the memorial tablet technology is wonderful or just weird. Would you want an RFID tag on your headstone?
Read more about green burial at TreeHugger:
The Last Act: Green Burial
Green Life, Yes. Green Burial, Why Not?
Georgia Eco-Cemetary Lets Your Family Dig Your Own Grave