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Inventors usually try to come up with things that will change people's lives. But Robert Barrows is hoping to make an impact after their death. He is patenting video-equipped tombstones to let cemetery visitors watch messages from the dead.
Barrows, of Burlingame, California, has filed a patent application for a hollow headstone fitted with a flat LCD touch screen (US 2004/85337). It also houses a computer with a hard disc or microchip memory that allows the deceased to speak from the grave through a video message.
They might just relate their life stories, says Barrows, or worse: they could confess to lurid indiscretions. "It's history from the horse's mouth."
The tombstone would draw its electricity from the cemetery's lighting system. And to avoid a grave's soundtrack clashing with the one next door, people can also listen through wireless headphones.