Would You Want To Be Buried In A Smart Coffin?

Hi-tech casket boasts a built-in screen for photos and social feeds, plus speakers and flashing lights

  • ‘Coffin of the Future’ is currently only a concept by a West Midlands firm
  • Includes a large screen to show a slideshow of photos and tweets
  • Design also has colour-changing lights and speakers to project a eulogy
  • There are currently no plans to put the coffin into production, or a price

From environmentally-friendly coffins to 3D-printed caskets, there have never been so many different burial choices.

But in the future, we could be laid to rest in a coffin with a built-in screen to display photo slideshows and digital messages of condolences.

A design for the ‘Coffin of the Future’ also includes colour-changing lights and built-in loud speakers to project a eulogy or play music.

The coffin, by Perfect Choice Funerals in Solihul in the West Midlands, is only a concept, but could well become part of a growing trend of using social media to offer condolences.

It is now the norm for people to share messages on Twitter and Facebook when a relative or even a celebrity dies and numerous websites promise to offer immortality – in the form of a social media profile at least.


The coffin design includes a large screen on its lid showing a slideshow of memorable images of the deceased.

It also includes a social media stream of tributes paid to the deceased.

The side panels are fitted with lights that change colour, enabling the deceased’s favourite colour to be selected.

The coffin also contains integrated speakers, so that the deceased’s eulogy can be projected from the coffin.

Emma Simpson of perfectchoicefunerals.com said: ‘We recently carried out some research into the rise in the use of technology at UK funerals and thought it would be interesting to see how different elements could be incorporated to modernise funerals.

‘Following our previous research, we were surprised by the amount of people posting photos of their funeral attendance on Facebook. Social media has become such a big part of people’s lives, we wanted to combine funerals, technology and social media to produce a proto-type coffin and this is what we came up with.

‘It may be a long way off or it may never happen, but it certainly provides food for thought.’

Mock-ups of the coffin show it has a large screen its lid showing a photograph of the deceased, together with a stream of social media messages.

The design has colour-changing sides, presumably to reflect the person inside’s personality. Built-in speakers could project a eulogy, favourite poem or song, for example


A US cremation service thinks an urn that is the spitting image of a loved one’s head might help mourners with their loss by commemorating a friend or family member.

The company offers 3D printed urns the same size as a person’s head with realistic details, and even lets people put a family member’s face on a miniature model of a super hero, if they so desire.

The company in Arlington, Vermont, writes on its website: ‘With personal urns, you can have a lifelike bust of your loved one that doubles as an urn for the ashes.’

A cremation service enables mourners to create a life-like bust of a loved one that functions as an urn. It uses 3D printing to turn a photo into the 3D sculpture. An urn in the image of President Obama is shown

To demonstrate its skills, the firm has created a President Obama urn and says that it can even make wigs for the functional busts to create a more life-like effigy of people with long hair.

Cremation Solutions uses facial recognition software to turn two dimensional photographs of people into 3D sculptures.

The software extracts the properties of a person, such as the position of their eyes and shape of their nose, to create a 3D computer model.

The data is then used by a machine to print out the bust, by layering up tiny ceramic particles and colouring them one of thousands of colours to ensure the bust is as life like as possible.

The firm boasts that it can ‘even erase blemishes so they (a loved one) will look their best for all eternity’.

‘You will never again have to worry that you might forget what your loved one looked like when you invest in one of these custom made very lifelike cremation urns,’ it says.

Ashes are poured into the urn through a plug on the bottom and the urns have a heavy marble base to prevent them from toppling over and ashes spilling out

Makers of the concept believe the next-generation coffin is modern way of sharing messages of condolence with a family, particularly for people who cannot get to a funeral.

The design also has colour-changing lights on the sides, presumably to reflect the person inside’s personality.

Built-in speakers could project a eulogy, a favourite poem or song, for example.

There is no word about whether the concept will ever become a reality, or how much it may cost.

It is also not clear whether the technology is designed to be buried as part of the coffin.

If so, the futuristic coffin could incur the wrath of environmentalists because non-biodegradable screens that could potentially leak chemicals into the soil would be buried.

Perfect Choice Funerals already offers personalised funerals that can feature unusual elements such as a motorcycle hearse, ‘customised picture coffins’ and woven eco coffins.


A new social networking site is promising its users digital immorality.

Eter9 claims to learn about your personality as you share photographs, links and comments before continuing to post for you once you die.

The site relies upon a form of artificial intelligence to create ‘virtual beings’ that can interact with other users. Each user will have a digital ‘Counterpart’ based on their previous posts.

The Eter9 social networking site (pictured) promises users virtual immortality by using artificial intelligence to learn about its users, which will then post on their behalf when they are offline or even once they are dead

The Eter9 social networking site (pictured) promises users virtual immortality by using artificial intelligence to learn about its users, which will then post on their behalf when they are offline or even once they are dead

While the social network is only it Beta stage, it already has 5,000 people who have signed up to use it, although some have described the concept as ‘creepy’ and ‘spooky’.

A statement on the Eter9 website says: ‘This network has specificities which allow a human being to achieve immortality in cyberspace.

‘Eter9 makes it possible to eternalize the user and gives them the permanent ability to interact within the network 24/7 through an element called counterpart, which will be active even while the user is offline, both in terms of posting content and commenting.

‘The counterpart will also be responsible for the user’s eternal life.

‘The counterpart will absorb all the information according to the posts and comments, and process that information within the limits of the acquired knowledge.

‘The interaction will be progressively more effective, taking into account the acquired information and its ‘experience’, and also the interaction between the physical part and the virtual connections.’

Much like Facebook, Eter9 has a newsfeed that it calls the ‘cortex’ where posts from other users appear.

Users can ‘smile’ at other people’s posts they like and also post their own photographs or comments.

The site also claims to feature virtual users, or bots, known as Niners who can be ‘adopted’ by human users.