A Digital Urn

TimeCap came out of the need to update burial rituals to the 21st century. Instead of placing someone’s ashes inside an urn, a small USB device holds photos, sound bytes, videos, and any other type of digital media. The device is small enough to wear around your neck and since it’s flash memory based, should last a lifetime if not more.

Designer: Cherif Morsi


  • cherif morsi says:

    Hi everybody again

    Very exciting to read all of your comments. It is quite nice to note how perception differ enormously in different continents.
    And I thank you honestly for expressing your points of view. Really appreciated.

    However, I would like to clarify TimeCap a little bit more.
    TimeCap was part of a project initiated by Chi Ha Paura to rethink and/or revive Rituals in general.
    It is highly symbolic in its meaning by virtually transfering ash into digital data. You also have to consider that TimeCap is very tiny as it is less than 2 inches long (5 centimeters) and is meant to look like an unfamiliar gem without letting the looker guess it is a USB flash drive in the first place. It will never replace good old pictures nor does it entice for laziness but times have evolved and there are so many videos we take of loved ones so we will always need to store these videos and cannot be stored in a photo album. It does not compete with any of the traditional things at all but tries to bridge the gap between old things and new needs. It is by no means a subsitute for normal photos like some sugegsted.
    And, of course it can be used as a normal flashdrive having 1GB of storage capacity and of course will be used also to put whatever the user wants.

  • Mondoz says:

    Isn’t the purpose of a time capsule to store memories for a Long Time? How long will the USB interface be around for? 3.5 in. floppies were ubiquitous for about what, 20 years?

    If I wanted to make a time capsule, I’d want it to go on for a lot longer than that… 100 years from now, if they find one of these, they won’t have a clue how to read it.

    Unless the purpose is to bury it with the deceased… In which case, what’s the point?

    • cherif morsi says:

      Hi Mondoz

      The same applies to all technology based objects such as computers for example. Nothing lasts forever nor do normal photographs. Nobody has a single clue what the world will be in a 100 years anyway. When a new technology will start blossoming, it should be compatible with all other older formats for a while to enable the switch and nobody pretends doing things to last forever. You wouldn’t know it is a flash drive till you, as its owner, use it. Otherwise, it looks like an unfamiliar “gem” making it a personal item. And it started as a symbolic urn but of course should also be used as any normal flash drive.


  • Nathan says:

    what size are they? looks like it would be pretty expensive for style and a good size flash drive

  • Nick says:

    The reason 3.5 floppies and other media go dead are for the advantages of
    newer media. With USB connections replacing almost every periphereal connection,
    I would imagine the USB standard to be developed upon, with backwards compatibility
    in mind instead of supplanted entirely.

    Now if it were possible to incorporate display into the device with a projection
    and small speaker, it would be self contained.

    But otherwise, all data (including ancient languages) is subject to loss over
    developments in time and technology.

  • Christine Chung says:

    hmm…..what’s so conventional about this item? Its basically flash memory stick. USB’s been out for LONG(enough)~ time.

  • tar says:

    This is actually a little bit creepy, I have to say…I mean, I love my flash drive, and this one is quite pretty, but using a flash drive to hold mementos of the deceased just for the sake of doing so (as opposed to “for the express purpose of having a slideshow of memories at the funeral” or something along those lines) is just a bit weird. And why would you carry it with you, since it seems a little disrespectful to put everyday documents on it right next to the picture of Grandma and Grandpa together for the last time? No one carries around the urn that has a loved one’s ashes in it, do they?

  • Melanie says:

    At the end of the day, all you have designed is a USB stick.
    There is a reason why people put ashes into urns and bury it, its a place where you visit the person you have lost, a place to grief. It is not about looking at photos at any time becuase you wear a USB around your neck!

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