You're having dinner with your new squeeze, charming her parents when your eye lands on an old family photograph on the sideboard appearing to feature your own grandpa in his youth. And then it hit you—she’s your cousin! Well, maybe not in the US or the UK but if you live in a country with an isolated population of 320,000 where almost everyone is distantly related, inadvertently getting with your cousin can be a real risk.
This gem of a story reported in The Independent shows what happens when our own personal code held on our device meets another and sparks new services. No surprise that it was an Icelandic digital agency developing the app encouraging users to—ahem—“bump in the app before you bump in the bed". Anti-virus software developer Friðrik Skúlason earlier produced an online database to allow Icelanders to trace their heritage online before app developers took the information and made a specific anti-incest feature on their Book of Icelanders Android app.
The producers from Sad Engineer Studios reveal that the app works by two users bumping their phones together to instantly see if they are related. "The 'Incest Prevention' is a fun feature that the user can enable through the options menu which will notify him with both text and sound if the one he bumps with someone who is too closely related to him," they claim.
The issue for Iceland is it has much more interwoven bloodlines than other countries and the Icelandic genealogy database is unique in its completeness. Maybe the app would have been useful a few hundred years ago when Romania’s Vlad the Impaler stalked the lands and interbreeding caused Europe’s Royal Families blood disorders and madness. Better still, it could have stopped the Twilight Series in its tracks.