Fragment lets family members and friends share their memories of deceased loved ones

At first, death doesn't exactly seem like a space that's ripe for technological disruption, but a new startup is making a compelling case with the launch of an online service that helps people through the difficult process of grieving. Quebec-based Fragment recently showcased two products at SXSW. The first, Social Tribute, is an online platform that lets family and friends pay their respects to deceased loved ones by uploading photos, videos and other mementos to create a shared “memory” of the person. The service then turns these collected memories into a tribute video and makes it easy to share.

The second product brings these memories into the physical world. Concrete and Light is a smart object that helps those dealing with loss cope with the different stages of grief. This “digital urn” communicates with its owner to determine where they are in the grieving process, and uses this information to suggest helpful content that can be accessed via an app. Users will also be able to connect to a community of people dealing with the same types of grief.

Additionally, the urn is able to connect with Social Tribute to let people add memories or even project a tribute video onto a TV. Fragment Founder David Beaulieu says both products are aimed at modernizing the grieving process.

“Fragment is a funeral business. It's a business that's been in your life forever but has been stuck in time,” he says, explaining that with Fragment he wishes to bring the funeral business into the 21st century.

Concrete and Light is a simple object made of wood and concrete, with a glowing light sandwiched in between the urn's two layers that lights up when it senses you are nearby. Beaulieu says he chose natural materials so that when the time comes, people who wish to bury the urn can do so without worrying about harming the environment.

“It is a normal and needed ritual in the grieving process [to bury the urn] and we want to suggest different options to the user. So ultimately you would either separate from the object or maybe the object would change “shape” to represent something else… a different signification.”

For now Concrete and Light is only a prototype, but Beaulieu says to expect a beta version in the next two months, with a wider rollout to follow.

Fragment.life

At first, death doesn't exactly seem like a space that's ripe for technological disruption, but a new startup is making a compelling case with the launch of an online service that helps people through the difficult process of grieving. Quebec-based Fragment recently showcased two products at SXSW. The first, Social Tribute, is an online platform that lets family and friends pay their respects to deceased loved ones by uploading photos, videos and other mementos to create a shared “memory” of the person. The service then turns these collected memories into a tribute video and makes it easy to share.