Perhaps, one of the last industries one would expect technology to affect would be funerals. The fact is, however, technology is already making changes in how final arrangements are handled. This includes online streaming of ceremonies, social media, and online condolences. There is one area of technology that is having a somewhat surprising and disruptive impact in the funeral industry. That is the introduction of 3D printing.
What is 3D Printing?
Originally called stereolithography, 3D printing was first introduced in the 1980’s by Charles Hull. While 2D printing places images on a sheet of paper, 3D printing takes digital images and reproduces them using thin threads of various materials in construction a physical reproduction. Until recently, 3D printing has been very expensive and has been used in very specific industrial sectors like jewelry and small parts. It is now more accessible and even home 3D printers are available. These 3D printers can be used to “print” everything from guns to drone parts. They are exceptional for producing prototypes, samples and for when a smaller amount of parts or products may be required. They are particularly valuable in creating one of a kind, personalized products, which is gaining the attention of funeral homes.
Personalized Urns and Keepsakes
3D printers can take personalized urns to a new level. Individual urns could be created in a miniature form of the deceased. They can take photographs of special places and create physical urns using those images. An urn could be “printed” in the form of a favorite car or motorcycle. Imagine almost any image or item and it could be re-created as a customized 3D urn.
Like personalized urns, personalized keepsakes can be created in remembrance of a loved one. These can be in the form of jewelry, decorative items and other items that will keep the memory of a loved one close at hand.
Repairing the Bodies of the Deceased
3D printing has been widely accepted in the medical and dental industries in producing prosthetic and replacement parts. This technology is now being used to help repair the bodies of those involved in accidents. Funeral professionals are no longer limited to wax or extensive makeup to help make a deceased look presentable. Families will soon have the option to see their loved ones in much more realistic ways than previously possible. This can provide exceptional comfort when a severe accident or other tragedy was the cause of death.
From creating customized urns and keepsakes to repairing the bodies of the deceased, 3D printing is disrupting the funeral industry in a positive way.
At Fares J. Radel Funeral Homes and Crematory, we have always embraced change in the funeral industry. We were one of the first funeral homes nationally to accept and use motorized vehicles in funeral services. We offer forward-thinking services like in-home consultations, “celebrations of life” and customized services to bring closure to the families we serve. If you have questions or would like more information, please feel free to contact us.