Just in time for Halloween: High-tech graveyards

Only the Japanese could combine a cemetery and a jukebox and make it OK.

While we've covered the tech of morbidity before, what we have in the U.S. is nothing compared with the Japanese. Since burials in Tokyo can be so expensive (topping out at more than $100,000), some people have invented a more conservative yet radical solution, according to the BBC: converting warehouses into high-tech graveyards.

Instead of one grave per a given area (like a house on a plot), the graves are stacked (like condos) several feet high. To give relatives access to the remains, a robotic arm retrieves the urn (most Japanese are cremated) and shuttles it to a "mourning room." Think of how a jukebox retrieves a record, only it's ashes.

It's a novel concept, but it's also uniquely Japanese, and we can't really see that catching on here. But it totally makes sense in hyper-dense Tokyo where land is scarce and getting out of the city really isn't an option for many people.

About the author

    With more than 15 years experience testing hardware (and being obsessed with it), Crave freelance writer Matt Hickey can tell the good gadgets from the great. He also has a keen eye for future technology trends. Matt has blogged for publications including TechCrunch, CrunchGear, and most recently, Gizmodo. Matt is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CBS Interactive. E-mail Matt.


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