This Connected Device Wants to Help You Mourn Loved Ones

The passing of a loved one is almost always a sad and traumatic event that can take a lot of time to cope with. Canadian company Fragment hopes to use tech to help people grieve in a healthy manner by way of two conceptual products — a connected device called Concrete and Light and an app named Social Tribute.

Fragment describes Concrete and Light as a modern memorial. Made from concrete and wood, the device can be connected to a laptop, smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. A digital urn of sorts, Concrete and Light works in tandem with the Social Tribute app. You can compile photos, videos and social networking updates (if you have access to your loved one's account).

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And since it is an urn of sorts, Concrete and Light can add some of the ashes or hair from the deceased to personalize the hardware. However Fragment representatives stress that they'll only put a small portion into Concrete and Light. Since the ultimate goal is to come to terms with the deceased's passing and letting go, Fragment doesn't want Concrete and Light becoming a physical manifestation of your loved one.

Once you've compiled all of the deceased's data, it's time for Concrete and Light to go to work helping you mourn. Integrated sensors detect when you're near, and Concrete and Light emits a gentle light meant to offer comfort. It also cues up the Social Tribute app and the compiled memory.

The app can also pull up helpful content related to your loss. For instance, if you lost someone to a car accident, it would pull up the appropriate coping materials as well as helpful support groups. It can also help with the loss of a parent, child, sibling or other close friend and family member. And while Fragment's creations do sound similar to an episode of the TV series Black Mirror, I was assured that the company has no plans to try to cobble together a digital doppelganger of the deceased. Again, the idea is to come to terms with your grief and move on in a healthy fashion.

Both the hardware and software are still in their conceptual phrases, so there's no word on when these products will be available to the public. However, Fragment might be on the verge of changing the funeral as we know it.

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