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New app keeps Icelanders from sleeping with relatives

Iceland has a fairly small population, meaning there's a somewhat real risk of accidentally sleeping with someone you're related to. A new app hopes to prevent this.

Iceland has a population of just 320,000 people, less than a decent sized city. Even though we are all related if you go far enough back, you clearly don’t have to reach quite as far to find relatives if you’re from Iceland. How does this affect dating though; what are the chances of Icelanders accidentally hooking up with members of their extended family?

Arnar Freyr Aðalsteinsson, Hákon Þrastar Björnsson and Alexeander Annas Helgason; the designers of the app


Apparently, the chances are great enough to warrant the creation of an app that lets you check. The app is linked to Íslendingabók, an online "book of Icelanders" which keeps a database of the 720,000 people who have ever been born in Iceland. The database is freely available to anyone who is registered in it, and with the app, people can now quickly look up their partners to find out if they’re cousins. The app makes use of bump technology, which allows users to quickly exchange information via Bluetooth; as the designers’ slogan reads: “Bump the app before you bump in bed”.


If you think that this doesn’t happen too often; that perhaps it isn’t the most common occurrence to realize your date is in the background of your brother’s wedding photos, well then you’d be wrong. One user of the app made a comment that confirms its dire necessity in the Icelandic dating world: “If I would have had this app last year, I probably wouldn’t have gone home with my cousin”. The word “probably” is still a little worrying, of course.

David F.
A grad student in experimental physics, David is fascinated by science, space and technology. When not buried in lecture books, he enjoys movies, gaming and mountainbiking

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