What better way to say hi than by actually saying hi?
Augmented reality has been popping up all over Japan in lots of interesting places. Aside from the popular Pokémon GO, it’s now possible to have augmented-reality penguins guide you around Tokyo, and sit down at a cafe across from Hatsune Miku to enjoy a snack together.
And now the Japanese tombstone-engraving company Ryoshin Sekizai has released a new augmented-reality service that is sure to change lives… and deaths. They’re offering to set up a virtual “gravesite” for your deceased loved ones, where you can visit them as if they were really there.
▼ Just saying hi to mom and dad. Their speech bubble reads:
“Take care of yourself. We’re always watching over you.”
The service costs 500 yen (US$4.50) per month, and can be set up anywhere in the world, not just at tombstones or other grave markings. So you can visit people who were special to you at places that were special to you — a favorite park, by the beach, wherever you’d like.
Their service can set up pictures or videos to appear at the designated location, along with text messages. If the service is being set up in advance of someone passing away, then they can store several messages/videos at the location of their own creation.
Since the service is based in Japan, where cremation is how the vast majority of deceased are put to rest, the company will also hold onto the deceased’s ashes for up to 15 years or as long as the monthly fee is paid. They even offer the first year free to families, which is a nice gesture for that particularly difficult time.
Honestly, as someone who does not like the idea of my family having to pay tens of thousands of dollars to bury me when I’m dead, this seems like an amazing alternative. I’d much rather set up a bunch of fun videos in advance, where they could all come visit me at one of our favorite hangouts… although I wonder if setting it up inside an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet is actually a good idea?
Either way, I’m excited to see where this technology goes. We’ve already seen before how just meeting a deceased love one’s favorite Pokémon at their gravesite can be a moving encounter, and now we can all have the same intimately special experience.