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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 July, 2004, 10:25 GMT 11:25 UK
Video diary from beyond the grave
Graveyard
Will tombstones like these soon contain video screens?
A US inventor has come up with a hi-tech way of allowing the deceased to talk from beyond the grave - by fixing video screens to their tombstones.

Robert Barrows says people could leave video messages before they died, to be played to friends, loved ones or the just plain curious from the grave side.

He told the BBC that messages could include telling life stories or having the final say on a disagreement.

It could also be a money-making enterprise for cemeteries, he added.

Mr Barrows, of Burlingame, California, has filed a patent application for his design of a tombstone that can accommodate video equipment operated by a remote control.

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"You can go from grave to grave and click on anything that person wanted to say before they died," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

Messages could include telling your side of the story, making amends or saying "sweet things to loved ones", he added.

'Showbusiness'

Mr Barrows said it would be a far more "dramatic" way of communicating from beyond the grave, than leaving a videotaped message to be played at home.

"There's no business like showbusiness," he told Today. "Imagine how interesting it would to go to tombstones where you didn't know the person, or historical tombstones to find out what someone had to say..."

He said computer equipment could also be installed in the tombstone that connected up to the internet, enabling people to programme their messages to be delivered long after they have died.

The tombstone could be coin-operated or swiped with a credit card. "Cemeteries could basically one day charge fees to rent the headsets you need to listen to [the messages]," he added.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Inventor Robert Burrows
"All I've done is design a tombstone that will accommodate video playback equipment"



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