An app created in Iceland will tell you if you are trying to hook up with a relative.
“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 realize that girl is a second cousin. People may think it’s funny, but (the app) is a necessity.”
The app, ‘IslendingaApp’ was developed by three software-engineering students at the University of Iceland for a contest wanted “new creative uses” of the Islendingabok, or Book of Icelanders, an online database of residents and their family trees stretching back 1,200 years.
The app lets users instantly compare their lineage by bumping their smartphones together. It also includes an “incest-prevention alarm,” says Arnar Freyr Adalsteinsson, one of the developers. “When you bump, it shows your nearest common ancestors. If you bump with someone who’s too closely related, you get an alarm sound and a text warning.”
Currently the alarm only alerts users if they and their new ‘acquaintance’ have a common grandparent, and most people already know who their first cousins are.
IslendingaApp also allows users to use convenient features such as a calendar that reminds them of relatives’ birthdays. But the most talked-about feature has been “the bump,” Adalsteinsson says. “As you can imagine, it’s pretty catchy.”
The slogan is even catchy by stating, “Bump the app before you bump in bed.”
Stefansson says the “bump” feature is an attention-grabbing but relatively minor aspect of an app that brings Icelanders’ love of genealogy into the 21st century.
He hopes it won’t convey the wrong impression about Iceland. “The Icelandic nation is not inbred,” he said. “This app is interesting. It makes the data much more available. But the idea that it will be used by young people to make sure they don’t marry their cousins is of much more interest to the press than a reflection of reality.”
Currently available for Android phones, it has been downloaded almost 4,000 times since it was launched earlier this month. The creators also hope to develop an iPhone version.