In Iceland, a country with a population of 320,000 where mostly everyone is distantly related, inadvertently kissing cousins is a real risk.
A new smartphone app is on hand to help Icelanders avoid accidental incest. The app lets users “bump” phones, and emits a warning alarm if they are closely related. “Bump the app before you bump in bed,” says the catchy slogan.
Some are hailing it as a welcome solution to a very Icelandic form of social embarrassment.
“Everyone has heard the story of going to a family event and running into a girl you hooked up with some time ago,” said Einar Magnusson, a graphic designer in Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik. “It’s not a good feeling when you realise that girl is a second cousin. People may think it’s funny, but (the app) is a necessity.”
The Islendiga-App — “App of Icelanders” — is an idea that may only be possible in Iceland, where most of the population shares descent from a group of 9th-century Viking settlers, and where an online database holds genealogical details of almost the entire population.
The app was created by three University of Iceland software engineering students for a contest calling for “new creative uses” of the Islendingabok, or Book of Icelanders, an online database of residents and their family trees stretching back 1,200 years. Arnar Freyr Adalsteinsson, one of the trio, said it allows any two Icelanders to see how closely related they are, simply by touching phones.