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Man Patents Self-Burying Coffin 159

Posted by samzenpus
from the ashes-to-ashes-righty-tighty dept.
disco_tracy writes "A California inventor has filed a patent for a coffin that screws into the ground vertically. The reason? It greatly reduces excavation labor and burial costs, decreases land use, and opens up more space for burials in unused areas of a cemetery. Writer Clark Boyd also lists 5 other unconventional burial options, including lye, ecopods, GPS devices that track bodies buried without headstones, cryogenics and — my favorite — getting buried in the sky."
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Man Patents Self-Burying Coffin

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  • by ModernGeek (601932) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @11:33AM (#33228732) Homepage
    Spinning in your grave. Hur hur.
  • Already been done (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    In a Ray Bradbury story called 'The Coffin.' Although Bradbury's was fictional, it had the benefit of being a lot cooler, with little arms that dug the hole and a portable record player that did a eulogy. It even covered itself in earth once it was done.

  • You're screwed
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by StikyPad (445176)

      Wow... It's as if you read the title of TFA.

    • by rwa2 (4391) *

      Yeah, that's also pretty sad, because this is otherwise a pretty neat idea to reduce the plot sizes in cemeteries. But people are going to think the tagline, and go for some large conventional stretch coffin instead.

      It's like Chevy would never be able to break into manufacturing light aircraft, just because of their silly "Like a Rock" tagline.

      Oh well, it's just a matter of time before we have little "condo-crypt highrises" for the deceased like they do in South America. Or maybe the small little cremator

    • Do a barrel roll!

      Do a barrel roll!

      Do a barrel roll!

  • That's just screwed up. Bet this guy's dying to sue anyone who implements these devices without his permission...
    • by iamhassi (659463)
      "Bet this guy's dying to sue anyone who implements these devices without his permission..."

      Honestly I don't see this going anywhere, with the patents and stuff this will probably cost more than a simple casket that any company can produce without a licensing fee. I can't imagine any family choosing this, if they were willing to screw grandpa into the ground and have him rest vertically they'd probably be just as inclined to choose cremation first.

      Only people I could imagine opting for this is the US
      • I can't imagine any family choosing this, if they were willing to screw grandpa into the ground and have him rest vertically they'd probably be just as inclined to choose cremation first.

        Paupers cemeteries would probably be interested, if the price was right, and they didn't have rocky soil.

        I suspect the previous problem was getting the head of the coffin 6' under. On a regular 8' coffin you'd need a hole 14' deep - that's pier-setting equipment, not the auger on the PTO of a tractor.

        Still, over the course

        • Come to think of it, with a plug-type burial, a 'top-kill' of 12 bags of cement should be easy enough. No need to even mix - pour in the fast-set in a 4' sonotube and be happy if it's set up in a month's time.

  • how deep does this go? you may hit pipes / power lines?

  • Filed... in 2006 (Score:2, Informative)

    by Theaetetus (590071)

    "A California inventor has filed a patent...

    Note to Submitter and Editor - you don't "file a patent" in this country, you file a patent application, which was done four years ago. The patent has now been granted, so you could say "A California inventor has been awarded a patent..."

    With how often patents come up on Slashdot, we should at least make an effort to get the basics correct.

  • make a structure OUT OF dead people, not over them. not necessarily mausoleums and cenotaphs, but houses for the living too, or town squares: you become, literally, part of the community you helped to build/ that you loved

    ok, it's a little creepy

    "dad, where's grandpa?"

    "in the third load bearing column by the kitchen"

    at the very least, it would be a good backstory for a horror movie, or ghostbusters iii

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ukab the Great (87152)

      People have been making ossuaries [wikipedia.org] for hundreds of years. Your idea is probably less creepy.

    • by timeOday (582209)
      I'm planning to have my ashes scattered in an alpine forest and be recycled into a pine tree - no cement required.

      Surely that's better than being a mouldering corpse for hundreds of years.

    • by definate (876684)

      I wanna be turned into oil, like the dinosaurs. Well, maybe an accelerated process.

      They can market me and others as "Oil Green". Not because it's good for the environment, but because... ... OIL GREEN IS PEOPLE!

      My mum has given me all these instructions, pretty basic shit. Either way, every time she brings it up, I tell her I'm going to have her stuffed and mounted like a grizzly bear snarling and clawing. She will be on display just inside the entrance of the place, so that when you walk in, BAM! I think i

  • Yes, it did issue. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Macblaster (94623)

    Don't know why the Discovery article links to the published application, but here is a link to the actual issued patent: 7,631,404 [google.com]

  • Appropriate (Score:4, Funny)

    by dangitman (862676) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @11:47AM (#33228888)

    There couldn't be a better audience for this product announcement than slashdot. This is perfect for all of us who will die alone in our basements, with nobody to attend the funeral. Just flick a switch and it's done.

    • by Shakrai (717556) *

      Yeah, but who the hell wants to be buried and visited like some sort of shrine for the next decade or so? Cremate me please, it's the only way to go......

      • by dangitman (862676)

        Cremate me please, it's the only way to go......

        No problem, are you free around 3pm? I'll meet you at Bob's BBQ Shack.

        • by Shakrai (717556) *

          Nah, I want an open air Roman style cremation. Think the County Health Department will give me any fits with that? ;)

          • Nah, I want an open air Roman style cremation. Think the County Health Department will give me any fits with that?

            You're dead and burned up, what are they going to do?

            (just set enough aside to make it worth sombody's while)

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by networkBoy (774728)

              I know someone whom has in their will to have a viking funeral. Payout of the estate is contingent on this. Also in the estate is an escrow fund to pay the fines for and purchase the following:
              desecration of a corpse
              open air cremation of a corpse
              lighting a boat on fire in a waterway
              the boat
              the fuel to place in the boat
              the cost of a accurate archer

    • Just flick a switch and it's done

      Not exactly...

      According to TFA, "Self-Burying" isn't an accurate description. It's slightly (100%) wrong.

      Per TFA:

      The idea is that coffin would then be torqued into the ground, either by machine or even by hand.

      Basically, your body is installed into this big ass screw. A cap is fixed to the top and it's *ready* to be screwed into the ground. This coffin can bury itself just like my lunch can eat itself.

      On the topic of lunch... After looking at the patent drawings, it occurs to me that this device needs to be fairly robust to withstand the pressures of being screwed into the ground. I didn't see any

      • by dangitman (862676)

        Basically, your body is installed into this big ass screw. A cap is fixed to the top and it's *ready* to be screwed into the ground. This coffin can bury itself just like my lunch can eat itself.

        Oh well, at least the nerdly occupant has one final, desperate, chance to get screwed.

    • We, as geeks, are often interested in unconventional ways of doing things, and what to do with our bodies after death is probably no exception. I'm sure many of us here have a desire for something other than the traditional funeral/casket/burial/headstone approach. I for one have always been intrigued by the idea of a Viking Funeral. Put my body on a wooden boat, send it out to sea, then shoot a FLAMING ARROW at it and watch it burn. Hell yeah. Though, I highly doubt I'll actually ever put that in my will.

    • by Nyder (754090)

      There couldn't be a better audience for this product announcement than slashdot. This is perfect for all of us who will die alone in our basements, with nobody to attend the funeral. Just flick a switch and it's done.

      Um, who's going to flip the switch? alone in the basement remember? Your dead?

      Now a deadman's switch, okay, that will work.

  • by james_shoemaker (12459) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @11:48AM (#33228892)

    I immediately thought of the "Braling Economy Casket" from the Ray Bradbury story.

    James

  • Independent minded?
    Can't rely on others for important things?

    Then do it yourself. It is the only way to make sure it gets done right.

  • My Favorite (Score:4, Interesting)

    by b4upoo (166390) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @11:50AM (#33228924)

    Why go to all that negative bother? A good old fashioned gator pit suits me. Not only is burial not even an issue but the hides from the happy, and well fed gators make lovely luggage. The rest of the gators harvested could be used as hog feed.

  • Great... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ITBurnout (1845712) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @11:50AM (#33228926)
    Now maybe if the civilized human race were finally able to get past the rather strange tradition of putting their loved ones' preserved physical remains into (usually rather expensive) boxes in the ground, in order to last as long as possible, filling up acres and acres of land with these, increasing on a daily basis with every new death -- then that might be some REAL progress. At some point this whole "burying" thing needs to go. It is not an infinitely sustainable model to follow.
    • Trouble is cemeteries are green space in cities that developers can't get their hands on.

      Gotta take what you can get these days.

      • by definate (876684)

        Not quite. Usually developers can get their hands on parts of it, but usually... they don't want to. Every now and then this comes up in the city near where I live.

        Additionally, if you mean green as in grass and trees. Often these places are pretty full of graves, which aren't particularly green. In fact, I live in the hills (not in the city), and there's trees and grass everywhere, except the grave yards. Because they are packed in there, with only room to walk between each. Also gets heaps of foot traffic

    • It is not an infinitely sustainable model to follow.

      Neither is the universe if we want to get completely nihilistic about it.

      Filling up cemeteries isn't a problem, and when it is, we can easily fix it with a few backhoes (which you would need anyway if you wanted to build there) and a few changed laws.

      You really think Cemeteries are what's holding back 'REAL progress'? And all this time it was not being able to develop on that land that was holding back 'REAL progress'.

      You know, what's funny is that if our

      • Neither is the universe if we want to get completely nihilistic about it.
        That is a poor counterargument, as methods such as cremation are (while not infinite, I suppose), still far more sustainable than burial.
        Filling up cemeteries isn't a problem, and when it is, we can easily fix it with a few backhoes (which you would need anyway if you wanted to build there) and a few changed laws.
        You really think Cemeteries are what's holding back 'REAL progress'? And all this time it was not being able to develo
        • That person can be honored anywhere. It doesn't have to be at the site where his/her Earthly body is now in a box in the ground.

          Facebook to the rescue!

    • While I agree with the absurdities of burials, it has been working for tens of thousands of years with little trouble.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by ITBurnout (1845712)
        While I agree with the absurdities of burials, it has been working for tens of thousands of years with little trouble
        No it hasn't, really -- not in the way we are doing it now. For most of those tens of thousands of years (maybe with the exception of Egyptian pharaohs and selected others), the remains were not embalmed -- and even if they were embalmed, certainly not with the level of technology now used. And the caskets were degradable, not the fancy things we use today that are designed to last and la
    • by CRCulver (715279)
      Birthrates are going down over much of the world. This problem will become less acute, not more.
      • by Zenaku (821866)

        A decline in the birthrate does not mean a decline in population. It means our still rapidly growing population is growing slightly less rapidly than it was before.

        Hence the rate at which we produce new corpses to bury will continue to accelerate.

        Even if our living population were shrinking instead of growing, our deceased population would still continue to grow -- until such time as our living population reaches zero.

        So no, the problem will not become less acute in the future.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by iamhassi (659463)
      "At some point this whole "burying" thing needs to go. It is not an infinitely sustainable model to follow."

      According to the Cremation Association, burying is already dying out [cremationassociation.org], with over 1/3rd of deaths currently resulting in cremations and they're projecting over 50% by 2025.

      However I see nothing wrong with burying the dead, it's deeply rooted in many cultures and religions [wikipedia.org] and to say someone is wrong for burying their dead is equal to telling them their culture is wrong.
      • Agreed; I am not about to tell anyone that they are "wrong" for burying their dead. If their choice is burial, that is their choice. I am just saying that as a whole, I think that better solutions exist and that burial has always seemed a bit absurd to me. But maybe that's just me.
      • Re:Great... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Rude Turnip (49495) <valuation@gmail. c o m> on Thursday August 12, 2010 @01:03PM (#33229810)

        I have no problem telling someone their culture is wrong if it is wasteful and unsustainable. We're all the same species, created equal and therefore qualified to comment on one another.

        • I have no problem telling someone their culture is wrong if I don't personally approve of it, or believe in it, or think it's wrong

          There, fixed that for you.

      • by WiPEOUT (20036)

        Aquamation [aquamation.info] may supercede cremation due to releasing less greenhouse gases and otherwise wasting less of the body's nutrients.

      • by NoseyNick (19946)
        I wonder... what's the carbon footprint of sending someone up the chimney?
    • by metamatic (202216)

      At some point this whole "burying" thing needs to go. It is not an infinitely sustainable model to follow.

      That's the great thing about this invention. It gives ageing Republicans a way to screw the planet after they're dead too.

  • by seven of five (578993) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @11:56AM (#33229006) Homepage
    "Hi, I'm Troy McClure. You may remember me from such do-it-yourself videos as "Dig Your Own Grave - and Save"
  • by Midnight's Shadow (1517137) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @11:58AM (#33229026)
    I can't help but be reminded of when my niece (who was 3) used my grandfather's homemade wooden urn as a stool so she could reach the sink to wash her hands. At least my grandfather was being useful.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kungfugleek (1314949)
      Reminds me of my aunt who took her cousin's ashes across the country (US) to be buried in her home town. She kept the ashes in the glove compartment of her car. And forgot about them. Until a year later when she was planning her next trip out west she suddenly remembered her promise, and the ashes that were still in the glove compartment. So she rushed out to the cemetery (or wherever) with a video camera and quick held a funeral with her brothers and sisters so she would have evidence that she did, ind
    • I have a couple of old tombstones stacked up to make a nice set of stairs leading up to our garden.

      One of the perks of being a cemetery caretaker (former)

  • Imagine this in a somewhat futuristic mafia movie, in a carefully planned gangland killing scene...
  • That's [lifegem.com] how I want to be disposed of.
    • by cp.tar (871488)

      Imagine, if you will, a great-granddaughter with a diamond ring or necklace who, upon someone’s expressed admiration, says “oh, yes, it’s a memento from my great-grandfather.”

      Then imagine the expression of the inquirer upon explanation that the diamonds themselves are bits of the great-grandfather. Priceless.

    • by smaddox (928261)

      I never understood how you can know they aren't just taking the ashes, throwing them in the trash, and giving you an overpriced diamond in return.

  • It greatly reduce excavation labor and burial costs, decreases land use, and opens up more space for burials in unused areas of a cemetery.

    Cremation does the same thing. So does a burlap sack and a roadside ditch. Seriously people, you're dead. Get over it.

    • by EmagGeek (574360)

      You're wrong about what happens when you die. It's not an eternity of nothingness.

      When you die you're going to go to
      your favorite place in the whole
      world. And you're going to be with

  • This means that the cemetery security guards now have to keep on alert for shady characters with really large screwdrivers.

  • These coffins are actually big, evil drilling machines designed to penetrate the walls of Zion, allowing swarms upon swarms of robotic killers loose on what remains of the human race!

  • by Syberz (1170343)

    I'm not too sure if this is practical though.

    Think about it, you would need quite a bit of force or leverage to screw that thing in. Having a huge, dirty, bright yellow backhoe driving in granddad while spewing diesel smoke and making lots of noise doesn't quite feel the same as the coffin gently descending in its hole with a discrete pulley system with soft music playing in the background.

    • by compro01 (777531)

      You could always have the pallbearers do double duty.

      Though I suspect this is more intended for places like Japan, where cemetery space is becoming a problem.

      • Not really, cremation is the traditional method of corpse disposal in Japan. This would be a step back for them.

    • by Barny (103770)

      Bah, think bigger, fire them from low orbit, you could spin them up in space, have some kind of guidance system on them...

      "Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to witness the internment of a" THUNK!...

      Then one Veloci-Coffin employee says to another, "uh, I think you need to aim about 3 feet further away from the pastor next time Mike"

  • Move along, this product is already at end of life.
  • I keep telling my wife that I want to be cremated, then have the remains pressed into an artificial diamond, then make the diamond into a piece of jewelry or furniture.

    She prefers traditional burial. :)
    • by Jaqenn (996058)
      Forgot to add: after a huge percentage of me is taken by people waiting for organ/tissue transplant.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by wodon (563966)

      Then the diamond is used in a large laser device?

      And then the laser is used by your children to hold the city for ransom?

  • There's an important story to be covered and we get ... this?

    Seriously, mods. Do away with voting on the firehose, or at least override it when a story is clearly off-topic and puerile. Leave this crap for Fark.

  • Did anyone else read the title as "Man Patents Self"?
  • by sorak (246725)

    Why do this? Seriously? If you're not into traditional funerals, why not just be cremated and save the land for someone living? It seems like this is a series of inventive ways of mangling an unnecessary tradition. Is there someone out there saying "I want to be buried the traditional way, but inside some morbid transformer that can drill me into my final resting place"?

    • If you're not into traditional funerals, why not just be cremated and save the land for someone living?

      It depends on what you consider 'traditional': You might still follow the religious tradition requiring burial (or prohibiting cremation or other body disposal methods) but acknowledge that the traditional horizontal plot may be less socially-considerate than a vertical grave.

  • This reminds me of perpendicular recording but for meatspace. Cool! When do we get the option to screw them in three deep?

  • Now just lie in it, and it will do the rest.

  • This is great! I've been looking for a new metaphor for my current software project. The "two story outhouse" metaphor wasn't quite working anymore.
  • "Let the dead bury the dead."

  • I have always wondered why the coffins need to be buried horizontally. It seems we could get two or three times as many graves in a cemetary if they were buried vertically, whether they are self-burying or not. There would still be room for flat stones and flower holders too.

  • Anyone else think of the movie theloved one? [imdb.com]

  • I can't possibly be the only person around who thinks coffins are a waste of good resources. Back in the old days a pine box was all you got, and that wasn't so bad. Now they're full of steel, brass, aluminum and who knows what else.

    Shouldn't those materials be used on the living?

    This corkscrew coffin seems like it would require MORE of these things, not less.

    Plow my carcass into a field for fertilizer, there's no reason to waste resources to build an empty shell to put my empty shell in.

  • But I don't care what happens after I die. I'll be dead. do what you want with my body.

    I don't need a tombstone, nor do I need a grave. Maybe other people in my family want me to have that stuff, but I don't. not my problem.

  • I can't help but be reminded of the smiling face of Chuck Yeager in the "Chuck Yeager Flight Simulator", after planting an SR-71 into the ground in a power dive from 100,000 feet... and his words "Nice auger job!"

Some people have a great ambition: to build something that will last, at least until they've finished building it.

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