The ultimate dead spot? QR codes on headstones offer a digital legacy

The death care industry has gone digital.

Determined to make visiting loved ones’ graves a more rewarding and satisfying experience, a Pennsylvania couple has launched Digital Legacys, a business that uses QR codes to link headstones to websites commemorating the departed.

“We’re always afraid over time that their legacy would be forgotten,” Lori Miller told of her relatives. “It’s such a little thing, but it opens you up to such a wide variety of things.”

Imagine a 2-inch brass or silver square with a QR code — a square digital bar code — attached to any headstone with heavy-duty adhesive tape. A visitor would then scan that QR code using a smartphone, sending that user to a website honoring the deceased with photographs, videos, music and other multimedia components.

“We’re always afraid over time that their legacy would be forgotten.”

— Lori Miller, Digital Legacys

“We’re going to allow them to keep changing it, keep updating it,” Miller said. “It’s such simple technology.”

Miller, who lost her grandparents and her brother in recent years, said her husband Rick thought of using the technology after one of their recent visits to cemeteries outside Philadelphia. The business is not the first of its kind, as similar ventures are under way in Seattle and in Europe. But Miller thinks there’s potential for explosive growth as the United States, particularly the “baby boomer” generation, ages.

“It’s still a very new market and there’s plenty of room for everyone,” she said. “We’re really excited about it.”

Users can expect to pay $99 for a one-year QR code and accompanying website, Miller said, or $50 for a website dedicated to the decedent for one year. Additional QR code tags can be purchased for $28 each.

The business, which was officially launched Monday, is already fielding orders. But Miller hopes the idea can eventually be incorporated into not just the gravesites of loved ones, but those of historical figures and even pets.

“I hope that it will be seen and embraced and put on other people’s headstones, gardens, even hospitals,” she said. “It really can be used anywhere.”