Some people put roses on graves, others leave photos, toys, or sweets.
But now that we've reached the digital age, in lieu of flowers, please send tweets.
It's time for the tombstone to be upgraded for the 21st century. A team of creative designers has developed a Bluetooth enabled grave that will allow mourning friends and family members to sync with digital media while weeping over your death. The E-Tomb, featured on Yanko Design, is a concept piece that tries to connect the emerging importance of social networking with the traditional form of cemeteries. A solar panel in the headstone powers a hidden hard drive that stores information from key webpages like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Visitors to the E-Tomb can interact with this data via their smart phones and the Bluetooth connection. Mourners will still be discussing their lives with the dearly departed, only now they'll be doing it through the medium that we've grown accustomed to: the internet. Check out more of the concept photos below. As more and more of our lives are spent in the digital realm it only seems fitting that our memorials follow suit.
With the creation of gigabytes of personal information stored in the cloud, we seem to be building the foundation for a kind of digital afterlife. The online activities of today will persist long after you pass away. Many people have focused on how we will manage the blogs, passwords, Facebook walls, and Twitter accounts of the dead. Yet all of the next generation memorials I've seen so far have been purely digital. E-Tomb is unique in that it combines a well recognized physical symbol with the newly conceived digital minutiae that is rapidly consuming our modern lives. I'm not entirely sure if that's a good thing. I know that grave visitations vary from culture to culture, but I suspect that many traditional tombstones in the US go undisturbed for years at a time. Do we really need to hold on to these physical markers when online memorials require fewer resources and can be shared by anyone anywhere? Maybe not. Yet part of me thinks that as long as we still inter our dead bodies in holes in the ground, the physical tombstone will be important as a sign of the sacredness of that space. Rather than simply abandoning the old for the new, the E-Tomb serves as a kind of bridge between the two. I don't know if I'd buy it, but I certainly respect the idea. ...Though it's really going to freak me out when I see a weeping widow whip out her phone so she can text her dearly departed:
Sry Ur ded. GWHTLC. Kthx bai.
[image credits: Huang Jianbo, Zhao Ting, Wang Yushan, Ran Xiangfei & Mo Ran]