I've been to a couple of cemeteries lately where--amid green grass, ambient bird-chirping and occasional cries of sorrow--my reflective mood was disrupted by the sound of cell phones ringing. Sure, I could just chalk it up to some bad cell phone etiquette, but it also struck me as a clash between the everyday multimedia rat race and the reflective mood that fills the air during a time of mourning.
For similar reasons, I'm a bit apprehensive about one of society's latest technological advances--the video tombstone. Miami-based Vidstone founder Sergio E. Aguirre came up with the idea for the Vidstone Serenity Panel after watching a multimedia tribute for a deceased relative, according to the company's Web site.
The subject of a recent Associated Press story, the Serenity Panel is a 7-inch LCD panel that can be attached to almost any upright or slanted gravesite monument, featuring a 5- to 8-minute photo slideshow. It runs on solar panel, is activated by a button and has weatherproof audio jacks.
While not for me, the Serenity Panel is an innovative concept that gives people another way to memorialize their loved ones. For example, a Tennessee woman featured on the Vidstone's site sees it as a way to perpetuate the memory of her daughter killed on prom night by a drunk driver, "and maybe save the life of another child," she said.