Texting From Beyond The Grave

Generally a headstone conveys two very basic facts about the person interred below it – their name plus the two most important dates of their life. Thanks to some new technology, headstones can now convey much more that: a photo and note written by the deceased, delivered right to your phone.

The product is called RosettaStone and comes from a company called Objecs. If you were to purchase a RosettaStone, you’d receive what looks like a granite iPod with a few symbols visible on the outside and a microchip embedded on the inside. That device is then secured into your headstone so those symbols can be seen by visitors (each symbol represents an area of your life you want to share info on).

When your great-great-great granddaughter stops by sometime in the next century and wants to know who you were, she’ll touch her NFC-RFID enabled cellphone (or whatever device we’re using by then) to one of those symbols on the granite iPod-looking device on your headstone and she’ll get your note.

NFC stands for “near-field communication” which is a subset of RFID – “radio frequency identification.” You’re probably using this technology already. RFID is what allows you to pay a toll while driving 30 mph by way of the little box stuck to your rearview mirror. NFC works in a similar way but only in extremely close proximities — within just centimeters in this case.

By touching the RossettaStone symbols with her phone, your great-great-great granddaughter will activate the microchip via her phone’s magnetic field. That small bit of power is enough for the microchip to connect the phone to a URL containing the note you typed up waaaaay back in the 2010s.

NFC technology probably isn’t in your cellphone – yet. But it’s likely coming soon since it would also allow you to pay for goods using a tap of the phone.