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Memorial Technology - The QR Approach

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Surname/tag: cemeteries
Profile manager: Steven Harris private message [send private message]
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Quick Response (QR) codes, invented in 1994 by the Japanese company Denso Wave and originally used for quick-response manufacturing,[1] 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.[2] 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.

Free-standing Markers

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

Permanent Markers

Stay tuned, there is more to come!

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You're amazing, Steven! Hope to read more about this -- and see photos -- in a future edition of the Cemetery Project Newsletter.
posted by Chris Whitten