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Thanks for the memories  July 26, 2012

Icelandic app solves local familial problem

About The Author

CNET Editor

Michelle Starr is the tiger force at the core of all things. She also writes about cool stuff and apps as CNET Australia's Crave editor. But mostly the tiger force thing.

(Kiss of Death trailer scrennshot image by Henry Hathaway, public domain)

A new Icelandic smartphone app allows you to check that you're not about to get down and dirty with a relative.

At just 320,000, Iceland's population is tiny — and apparently that can be a real problem, because, as every Icelandic native is descended from the same family tree, everyone is related to everyone else.

(Credit: The Sad Engineers)

Luckily, there is enough distance between most people so that inbreeding isn't a serious concern, but it seems that enough Icelanders end up in bed with their cousins without knowing it for it to be a bit of a problem. So much of a problem, in fact, that in 2010, the Íslendingabók (book of Icelanders) website was launched, containing a database of every person born in Iceland since the 18th century, so that Icelanders can make sure they're not getting a little too Lannister-like.

And now, there's a more accessible way of using the database. Three engineers at Sad Engineer Studios have designed an Android app that lets you check that you're not too closely related before you jump into bed with a new lover. All you have to do is bump phones before you bump uglies to see the genealogy of both yourself and your love interest — with a built-in "incest alarm" if you're just a little too close for comfort.

It has the potential to stop a great many awkward situations. As one user on the app's Google Play page said, "If I'd had this in earlier, maybe I would not go home with my aunt."

And that's not all it does. It also tracks your relatives' birthdays, so you'll never miss another one again. We call that a win.


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