Graveside Memory Capsule Plugs into Past

dell takes a slice at apple with super thin latitude z dellz closed

Picture the scene:

In a not-so-distant dystopian future, a team of intrepid archaeologists clamber over the top of a slope, fighting to keep their goggles on and their breathing apparatuses free of the choking dust and silt. Below them spreads a desolate wasteland: scrawny plants barely cling to the sterile soil, dust devils careen madly across the landscape, and the sun is setting in the west like an umber fireball.

"Look, there it is!"

The team alternately slogs and tumbles its way down the slope towards an unusually regular object mostly buried in the blowing sand. In the fading light they push away the earth with portable spades and their bare hands revealing a weathered granite surface. Cryptic characters etched into the stone peer back at them from the depths of time.

"Can you read it?" a team member asks. Another passes his gloved hand over the writing, hoping that wiping away the last of the clinging earth may reveal the message. His hand stops; his shoulders sag. "No, sir."

A shout: "Over here!" The team tumbles around to the side of the granite marker. "I found this—is it important?"

"Yes!" exclaims the figure who couldn’t read the writing, suddenly fumbling to remove a cord from his knapsack. "The mission is saved!"

"Why? What is it?"

"A USB port!"

John Stevenson’s Graveside Memory Capsule is intended to provide a way for families to provide text, audio, music, video, and other digital media as a way of commemorating a loved one at a memorial site. Instead of a simple gravestone marking a person’s name, the year they were born, and and year they died, a Graveside Memory Capsule offers a way to preserve a wealth of information about a person and their life. Stevenson, a retired aerospace engineer, developed the capsule following the death of his wife Marian Ruth Stevenson, and figured the idea might be of interest to other families.

The Graveside Memory Capsule is a weather- and age-hardened USB storage device in a capsule about four inches long by one inch in diameter, which can be accessed by anyone with a USB cable and a data device. The copper case is hermetically sealed and the the digital contents will have an indefinite life if the capsule is installed correctly. Available memory sizes range from 512 MB to 4 GB, and each a capsule has a unique identifier registered wth the name of the decedent on an "Internet accessible file." Prices start at about $500. Customers will also receive an archival quality CD-ROM of their digital memorial, which can be copied and distributed to family members or made accessible via the Internet.

Installing a Graveside Memory Capsule may be a little tricky, and may have to be done by professionals since cemeteries often have requirements about the appearance and construction of memorials.

Although there’s no guarantee how long USB will be a readily-available data access standard—just try to access data on external SCSI devices with DB-25 connectors these days—or how long the file systems of the USB device will be intelligible to current technology, the idea of creating digital memorials for loved ones is a growing trend, particularly as families scatter over ever-greater geographical areas. The Graveside Memory Capsule might best be seen as a way of combining digital memories with traditional physical memorials.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robotic companions and computer-aided karaoke

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!

Need a quick battery boost? Try one of our favorite portable chargers

Battery life still tops the polls when it comes to smartphone concerns. If it’s bugging you, then maybe it’s time to snag yourself a portable charger. Here are our picks for the best portable chargers.

Here are 20 portable tech gadgets you’ll want to use every day

If you're looking for portable tech to keep you charged up while on the go (or for some great small gift ideas), we've rounded up 20 must-have gadgets. You'll find everything from a mini gaming controller to a folding Bluetooth keyboard.

The best of the last generation: Our 50 favorite Xbox 360 games

The Xbox 360 thrived during a generation where games were plentiful. Here's our list of the best Xbox 360 games of all time, including all game genres and even a few special indie hits.

Suck up the savings with these vacuum cleaners on sale for $100 or less

Keeping your floors clean around the home is a constant chore. To help make things a whole lot easier, we've picked out some great vacuum cleaner deals available right now, from full-sized upright models to robot vacs.
Smart Home

Is your coffee maker hiding mold inside? Here's how to clean it

Are you a coffee drinker? If you brew your coffee at home and you don't clean your machine, you could be drinking mold, yeast, and other bacteria. Here's how to clean your coffee maker.

Walmart drops prices on Google Home Hub and Lenovo smart displays

Walmart slashed the prices of Google Home smart displays for two highly regarded Lenovo models and the original Google Home Hub. We can't think of a better way to improve your smart home setup and these deals can help you save up to $100.

Amazon lowers Echo Dot cost and slashes price of the Dot and Smart Plug bundle

Amazon just unleashed extraordinary price cuts on third-generation Echo Dot smart speakers. The Alexa device is back in stock following the blowout sales last holiday season. The Echo Dot is the best-selling Alexa smart speaker worldwide.
Smart Home

These best outdoor security cameras will keep porch pirates at bay

Worried about porch pirates stealing your packages, or intruders entering your home? Always be in the know about who or what is on your property by installing one of these outdoor security cameras.
Smart Home

Your Instant Pot can do it all. Research says it has another important function

Researchers at Dakota State University tested a variety of pressure cookers for sterilization and found that Instant Pot provides enough pressure and heat to kill off food-spoiling bacteria.
Smart Home

Need some help? Here's our handy step-by-step guide on how to Airbnb your home

Getting ready to make your home a great rental? Here's how to Airbnb your home with the right amenities, insurance, supplies, and everthing else that you need. Use this guide to get started without making beginner mistakes!

Dyson sale shatters prices on vacuums just in time for spring cleaning

Steep price cuts on Dyson vacuum cleaners for the spring cleaning season help you save money on the tools you need to do the job. We've found the best discounts on Dyson vacuums from Amazon and Walmart and put them all in one place.

Amazon slashes prices on Echo devices that play Alexa’s sweetest-sounding music

Amazon slashed prices on Alexa-controlled Echo devices with the best music sound quality. All Alexa smart speakers stream music, but some sound better than others. Save on Echo Plus and the Echo Sub bundled with Echo and Echo Plus speakers.
Product Review

Simple and small, the Google Home Hub is your low-key smart screen

What’s small, simple, cute, and lacks a camera? The Google Home Hub is the latest smart display to hit the market. Powered by Google Assistant, there’s a lot to like about this device.