Monday, December 10, 2007

Tombstones Go Digital; Nary a Sold

Want to leave a message for your relatives and friends from the grave? New technology allows for it through high-tech digital images powered by a solar cell. But it hasn't been received well by the public thus far.

The panel mounts to the front of the gravestone and pays tribute to the deceased in color pictures, words, music and even videos. It's all from a small memory chip inside a device that opens like the front cover of a book.

"I haven't sold any," said Doug Ellis of Riverview Monuments, who has been offering the so-called "serenity panel" system for about $2,000 since February.

Ellis, 54, said maybe 15 potential customers have spent time looking and listening to the gravestone player he displays in his store. One woman asked him to mail her pricing information. But nobody has been serious about buying one.
Despite poor sales numbers, this technology brings with it the chance to revolutionize the legacy that the deceased can leave behind.
"That is a big step, putting electronics on your headstone," Cheri Lucking said. "People are used to sandblasted, granite and marble and things like that."

Ways of honoring the dead are changing because of technology, Lucking said.
If Pavarotti was digitally alive today, we wonder what he'd sing.


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