Geek Trivia

In Iceland There’s A Smartphone App To Help Prevent?

Dating Your Cousin
Missing National Chess Matches
Forest Fires
Watching American TV
Until The Mid-20th Century, It Was Customary For All New York City Residents To Do What On The Same Day?

Answer: Dating Your Cousin

Iceland is a country with a modest population of approximately 320,000 citizens. Now, despite the small population, under normal circumstances it wouldn’t be hard to find a date that wasn’t related to you in a sample size of several hundred thousand people, but Iceland is a rather unique place. The majority of people in Iceland are descended from a very small number of Vikings that colonized the region in the 9th century and, as such, it’s not uncommon to meet a complete stranger who happens to be your third cousin or other distant relative.

In 2013, however, a group of Icelandic students created a 21st century solution to an age old problem. The Iceland government sponsored a design contest encouraging students to take advantage of what is known as the Book of Icelanders, a comprehensive digital genealogical database that traces the ancestry of over 95% of Icelanders. Three students from the University of Iceland created a smartphone app, The Islendiga-App,¬†that allows you to bump your phone against another person’s phone, similar to how bump-to-push contact exchange features work, and immediately see your genealogical (if any) relation to the person in question.

Although the students created the app more as a tool for genealogical inquiry, they were the first to admit that the racier application of figuring out if you were related to a potential date was far more interesting than showing your grandmother how to research genealogy on her tablet and included an alarm system that would immediately alert you if the person you entered into the application was too close to you on the family tree.

Image courtesy of Sad Engineer Studios.