A QR Code (abbreviated from Quick Response Code) is the trademark for a type of matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code) first designed for the automotive industry. You can see a typical QR Code to the right. You probably have seen similar QR Codes on all sorts of products and advertisements. To use a QR Code, use a smartphone (typically an Apple iPhone or an Android phone) with appropriate software installed to take a close-up picture of the QR Code. The software reads the QR Code and then opens a web browser that displays the web page address that is embedded within the dots of the QR Code.
In effect, the QR Code becomes a "pointer" that points to a place where you may find more information. The process of displaying that information is automated with little human interaction required, other than snapping the picture. QR Codes are now popular on everything from Coca-Cola advertisements to tombstones.
The QR Code system has become popular due to its fast readability and large storage capacity compared to standard UPC barcodes. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded can be made up of four standardized kinds ("modes") of data (numeric, alphanumeric, byte/binary, Kanji), or through supported extensions, virtually any kind of data.
Tombstone manufacturers say that an attached QR code makes a tombstone almost like a form of social media. The QR Code attached to the tombstone points to a web page maintained by the family of the deceased. The web page might contain a biography of the person or it can point to an address where other people can text messages to the family. Family members also can share other stories that they'd like to share as well. It's all up to the family. The QR Code points to one web page but that page could be the "entry page" for many pages of information about the individual and his or her life and family. The pages might include photos, biography, and other information. The web pages also can be updated easily, as needed, by family members.
The QR Codes for tombstones are typically made on stainless steel, ceramic, or some other material that will not deteriorate quickly and then are attached to the tombstone or displayed on a separate "marker" located nearby. Larger QR Codes can be etched directly on the tombstone. Adding a QR Code to a tombstone requires a one-time fee that's included in the cost of the headstone. It can range from $99 to $400. A web page is also required although the page can exist on any web server. The family can make changes to the web site as needed.
Several companies now create QR Codes for tombstones. You can learn more in a number of articles by starting first on Google at http://goo.gl/W3yLv.