Quick Response (QR) codes, invented in 1994 by the Japanese company Denso Wave and originally used for quick-response manufacturing, are a series of geometric objects arranged into a grid which can be read by an imaging device. By 2011, in a study by comScore, it was determined that 14 million users in the United States (6.2%) had scanned a QR or barcode on their mobile device. Now common in consumer advertising and package tracking, QR codes can be generated freely and easily using a host of online sites such as QR Code Generator and QRCode Monkey.
While not a unique idea, I decided to research personal QR Code usage for usage at the gravesites of family members. Since I would like to do this for many different ancestors, and linking back to their WikiTree profiles, I started researching DIY solutions. After speaking with a few local cemeteries (where I intend to place these markers) I received overwhelming support of such as a task. While there are differing guidelines in place for the types of 'decorations' and 'adornments' that are permissible at each location, I settled on two easily producible methods of displaying the QR codes at gravesites.
The first step was finding a readily available product that I could use as a free-standing marker. After searching online for what seemed like an eternity, reviewing hundreds of possible solutions and weighing the pros and cons of all the items, I stumbled across an option that I had not yet considered before - Aluminum Garden Markers (used for marking plants). Coming in at roughly $1.25/each, these carried a very light price tag, and were designed to be used outdoors.
Using a hobby machine we already own, and a $25 engraving attachment, I can permanently mark the aluminum surface with a QR code and other data (such as instructions). The hardest part was coming up with a design and finding a suitable sealing method (since the engraving would cut through the oxide surface and making the marker prone to oxidation). After a trial run on a scrap piece of hobby aluminum, I decided to paint the aluminum first, make the engraving, and then seal the entire surface with an aerosol resin sealer.
|First Draft Design of QR Marker
1.5" (38 mm) tall by 3.5" (89 mm) wide
Stay tuned, there is more to come!