A 21st-century memorial helps bring remembrance into the digital age.
Nestled amid a beautifully manicured park near Beenleigh in Queensland, about an hour south of Brisbane, is a graveside memorial that is anything but ordinary.
In fact, this tiny technological breakthrough is set to revolutionise how friends and families remember their deceased loved ones and bring lasting memorials into the digital age.
Lucas Millott was just 15 when he died unexpectedly of heart failure while attending class at his Gold Coast high school in 2019. He suffered from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a medical condition that causes the muscle wall of the heart to thicken restricting both the volume of blood pumped by the heart as well as its frequency.
Like many teenaged boys, Lucas was keen on technology and up-to-date applications. Headphones sit atop his headstones as does a plaque noting his connection to his Xbox gaming console.
Also located on Lucas’ headstone is a small white disk-shaped container, and what it holds is Bluetooth enabled technology that allows visitors to capture a little of who Lucas was and what his life meant to his family and friends.
The technology is called Memento and it is fitted with a Bluetooth beacon that connects to smartphones via an application called modUrn App.
Lucas’ family have uploaded photographs, videos, texts and documents into the app. When visitors to Lucas’s graveside come within five metres, the app is enabled to allow access.
However, those not personally connected to Lucas and his family only have limited access, while friends and loved ones have access to much more personal information. And Lucas’ family have the final say on who can see what in a way comparable to social media which allows different levels of access to ensure privacy and security.
It makes sense that Lucas’s grave is the first in the world to be using Memento.
Lucas would have turned 16 just a couple of weeks after his death so his friends, family, classmates organised a memorial day to celebrate his life (his dog Leila was also there). Photos from that day have since been uploaded to the App.
Lucas’s mum Agneta Millott says it’s great that anyone who visits her son’s memorial will be able to see life events and photos of Lucas.
“I’m hoping that whoever goes there can scroll through the photos, enjoy great memories of Lucas and sit there with a smile on their face.
“Seeing new updated stories and new images from his friends and also messages when others are visiting Lucas’s memorial in the future is going to be great”, said Agneta.
Memento’s creator is Sonia Vachalec, a photographer by trade. This technology is now being distributed through three countries, including the United States. This little Australian company is doing big things three countries including the USA. SO COOL – a little Aussie company that is doing big things in the world or international business.
Sonia’s dad died when she was in her 20s and her stepfather died five years ago. She had lots of their photos, voice recordings and videos lying around. “I was hoarding so many things,” she recalls.
Sonia wanted to collate all her memories in one spot “so there was a time capsule to capture the essence of the person that can be accessed at any time or any place”.
Sonia hasn’t just created the Memento, the little disk that sits on a grave or memorial. The same technology is included in a bunch of funky urns called modUrns.
So now the cremated ashes – called cremains – of Granny Mary can sit in the lounge room and you can access all her memories, photos, videos, letter, documents, certificates, storytellings, family tree, whatever, via the App.
Yes, this is the world’s first Smart Urn! The Bluetooth technology sits at the top, powered by a small battery that needs changing every couple of years. When your phone is within five metres of the urn you can use the App on your phone to scroll through photos, videos, or other documents.
The modUrn is certainly not your traditional-looking urn. And it can’t hold all the ashes of Granny Mary. (They hold about a litre or 61 cubic inches but these days lots of people are starting to split the ashes of their loved ones anyway.)
Here’s a video explainer of what you can do with the modUrn technology.
modUrn is a 21st century way to approach death, memorial and remembrance, allowing easy access to treasured photographs and documents as well as cherished memories.
Not only is this technology helping people recall their loved ones, but it’s also available through a special range of pet urns for your family’s much-loved pet.