The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

June 16, 2013

QR codes now used on tombstones

A QR code (abbreviated from Quick Response Code) has been replacing standard UPC barcodes on products and advertisements because of its ability to provide more information. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background and its encoded information can be any type of data. According to Dick Eastman in a recent Online Genealogy Newsletter (May 28, 2013), “Genealogists have recently been finding QR Codes on tombstones.”

He explains, “To use a QR Code, use a smartphone (typically an Apple iPhone or an Android phone) with appropriate software installed to take a close-up picture of the QR Code. The software reads the QR Code and then opens a web browser that displays the web page address that is embedded within the dots of the QR Code …. The QR Code attached to the tombstone points to a web page maintained by the family of the deceased. The web page might contain a biography of the person or it can point to an address where other people can text messages to the family.”

There are several companies that now create QR Codes for tombstones and many articles have been written on this subject. Read about them by clicking on the links at http://goo.gl/W3yLv.

Will future researchers be able to translate such data? I personally see a strong resemblance to our long-sought translation of hieroglyphs created by the Egyptians on their structures from 3200 BC to AD 400. How long will smartphones or iPhones be around to interpret the QR Code data?

On a not-so-related note, a Google search (http://www.google.com) for the word hieroglyphics produces some interesting articles, including a website that has a typewriter to translate and print any name (or word) to “ancient Egyptian script” (at http://www.discoveringegypt.com/hieroglyphic-typewriter.html).

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