Digital Tombstones Are The New Way You Rest In Peace

By: Phoenix Delray

Forget flowers, the next big thing in living memorials for the dearly departed may just be a weatherproof, high tech digital scrapbook, powered by a solar cell. This product, known as the Serenity panel, developed by Vidstone LLC, is sold by Riverview Monuments of Wausau, Wisconsin and retails for approximately $2,000.

As with most technological innovations, word of the product is spreading slowly.

Doug Ellis of Riverview Monuments told CNN in a recent interview, that he hasnt sold any adding that many customers tell him that it is not there style. He believes that the Wausau area is a little more conservative and that it will take time for expansion.

The panel, according to CNN, amounts to the front of the gravestone, and pays tribute to the deceased in color pictures, words, music, and even videos, all courtesy of a small memory chip in front of the device; technology developed two years ago by Vidstone LLC, a company with offices in Florida and Colorado.

According to Vidstones national sales director in Aurora, Colorado, the company has approximately 100 dealers across the country; two in Minnesota, four in Illinois, and seven in Michigan, and one in Wisconsin.

They dont release sales figures, Lucking told CNN. Tho he confirmed its not a huge number at the moment.

Maria Schlitzbeger, of Schliztberger and Daughters Monument Co. in Houston, said that her company has sold one Serenity panel in a year.

Its a big step, putting electronics on your headstone, she explained to CNN. People are used to sandblasted granite and marble.

According to Lucking, although a digital video scrapbook on a tombstone may sound a little strange to most people, it can be compared to the advent of the cell phone, when only a few owned them and the rest swore that they never would.

Most funeral homes now use LCD screens to do multimedia presentations during services. Since five or six years ago video tributes have increased.

The screen, powered by the sun, includes headphone jacks for private audio listening.

Ellis thought it was a neat thing to bring into the industry. Something unique, something a little above and beyond just the standard engraving and pictures that end up on a monument at the current time.

He saw no reason why someone couldnt stand in front of a video camera and give a message to there grandchildren. Is this the next step in a future of mp3s and ever expanding leaps in technology or is this product to soon and will get lost in the technology bag, only time will tell.

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