Innovation is what keeps many industries alive as they churn out new products and services to attract more customer dollars. The death-care industry (known euphemistically to some as the "post-life" industry) is no exception.

An inventor in California has recently filed a patent application for a new way to commemorate a death: tombstones that play videos. The idea is that along with a will, as part of your estate-planning process, you'll have a video created, in which you address your loved ones -- or perhaps anyone at all. This video can then be viewed by visitors to your grave. You might impart wisdom, confessions, stories, jokes, or whatever you wish.

Robert Barrows' tombstone design is hollow, equipped with a computer inside and a flat LCD screen outside. Believe it or not, this isn't the first design for video-equipped tombstones -- at least one other has been patented.

If this idea takes off, it could boost our economy in a small way, offering a new career for some photographers (death videography) and boosted sales for some companies. (Perhaps even acting classes will surge in popularity as people prepare for their final shoot.) Computer giant and Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation Dell (NASDAQ:DELL), for example, recently announced plans to offer plasma TVs -- these could be incorporated into tombstones. Perhaps in the not-too-distant future, there will be tombstone aisles at your local Target (NYSE:TGT), Best Buy (NYSE:BBY), or Circuit City (NYSE:CC).

Another proposed innovation for our post-life period is a process of turning human remains into fertilizer. This one might be less likely to catch on than tombstone videos, but it's interesting, nonetheless, and has been provisionally approved by the Church of Sweden. It involves freeze-drying the body and then reducing it to a powder that can enrich the soil. Its advantage is that it offers full decomposition within six months, as compared with the 50 to 60 years it takes bodies in coffins to fully decompose. (Traditional burials also involve many chemicals, and cremations typically consume a lot of oil.)

If innovation intrigues you, check out the interesting small companies recommended by Tom Gardner in his Hidden Gems newsletter (there's a free trial available).

Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian does not own shares of any companies mentioned in this article.