- Title: Tombstones go digital in Slovenia
- Date: 7th April 2017
- Summary: MARIBOR, SLOVENIA (APRIL 5, 2017) (REUTERS) WIDE OF CEMETERY WITH BURIAL PLOTS OLDER WOMAN STANDING IN FRONT OF GRAVE DETAIL OF TOMBSTONES WIDE OF CEMETERY DIGITAL TOMBSTONE SCREEN SHOWING TECHNOLOGY COMPANY LOGO GRAVE IN FRONT OF SCREEN / PAN TO DIGITAL SCREEN ABOVE GRAVE DETAIL OF DIGITAL SCREEN DIRECTOR OF COMPANY WHICH PLANS TO SELL DIGITAL TOMBSTONES, SASO RADOVANOVIC, WALKING PAST GRAVES (SOUNDBITE) (Slovenian) DIRECTOR OF COMPANY WHICH PLANS TO SELL DIGITAL TOMBSTONES, SASO RADOVANOVIC, SAYING: "This tombstone makes it possible to put anything next to the deceased person's name and surname, you can write an entire novel if you like. You can put pictures, or a film about yourself... The tombstone could even be made to run the entire ceremony on its own - everything can be prepared in advance, and the tombstone can turn on at the time set, along with music, speech, whatever content you like. The tombstone has a sensor, so that when nobody is around it only shows the person's name and the years of their birth and death. When someone stands in front of it for 4-5 seconds, it automatically activates the content prepared. This saves energy and the screen itself, and helps extend the tombstone's lifetime." VARIOUS OF RADOVANOVIC AND ANOTHER MAN LOOKING AT DIGITAL TOMBSTONE PROTOTYPE DETAIL OF TRADITIONAL TOMBSTONE SCULPTURE TRADITIONAL TOMBSTONES AT CEMETERY WOMAN WALKING PAST GRAVES VARIOUS OF DIGITAL TOMBSTONE PROTOTYPE VARIOUS OF TRADITIONAL GRAVES AT CEMETERY DIGITAL TOMBSTONE PROGRAMMER, MILAN ZORMAN, STANDING NEXT TO TOMBSTONE (SOUNDBITE) (Slovenian) DIGITAL TOMBSTONE PROGRAMMER, MILAN ZORMAN, SAYING: "The screen resolution is equivalent to those on mobile phones, perhaps a bit more. There are no touchscreen capabilities, because tombstones are always placed on the very edge of the grave itself, so it would be inappropriate. We are also working on a smartphone app, intended to fully emphasise the tombstone's interactivity. For example, the speakers on the tombstone are not active because the cemetery environment does not tolerate loud sounds, but we intend to bring the sound to earphones connected to mobile phone running the app. That way visitors would be able to listen to videos displayed on the screen." TRADITIONAL GRAVESTONES DIRECTOR OF MARIBOR FUNERAL COMPANY, LIDIJA PLIBERSEK, TALKING TO REPORTER / PAN TO POSTER READING "EUROPEAN CEMETERIES ROUTE" (SOUNDBITE) (Slovenian) DIRECTOR OF MARIBOR FUNERAL COMPANY, LIDIJA PLIBERSEK, SAYING: "The Podbrezje cemetery in Maribor is the first cemetery in Europe which released a mobile phone guide around the cemetery. That was an international project called Artour, and enabled people to find places of interest to tourists around the cemetery using a mobile phone app. And now, we are not only the first in Europe but also the first in the world to unveil a digital tombstone." TRADITIONAL GRAVESTONES AT CEMETERY
- Embargoed: 21st April 2017 11:45
- Keywords: tombstones digital cemetery
- Location: MARIBOR, SLOVENIA
- City: MARIBOR, SLOVENIA
- Country: Slovenia
- Reuters ID: LVA0016BEHE7T
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: A cemetery in Slovenia recently pioneered an invention which aims to bring afterlife into the 21st century.
At first glance, the digital tombstone, named iTernal, looks like a traditional stone slab used to mark graves and inform visitors for centuries, showing the deceased's name and lifespan.
But standing in front of it for a few seconds activates its sensors and brings it to life, turning it into an interactive screen capable of playing just about any kind of content.
The weatherproof and vandal-proof tombstone installed at the municipal cemetery in Maribor, a city in eastern Slovenia, is the brainchild of computer scientists from the University of Maribor and a local company run by a historian, Saso Radovanovic.
Radovanovic explained that the tombstone could even be programmed to run an entire funerary ceremony automatically, complete with pictures, pre-recorded speech and video or music.
The designers opted not to equip the test model's 48-inch screen with touch sensitivity or working speakers, intending to stream the sound accompanying the content displayed via a smartphone app.
According to iTernal's makers, the tombstone seems to be more popular with older people who seem to be impressed with the wealth of information on offer, more so than younger generations who are already accustomed to social networks and tend to avoid reminders about the sombre side of life.
The digital tombstone will be made commercially available in the near future at the projected price of 3,000 euros which is about 40 percent cheaper than a traditional tombstone of the same size, and what its makers feel is a small price to pay for a digitally enhanced life after life.
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