03.31.14 9:45 AM ET
Smartphone Apps and Wearables Are Taking a Morbid Turn
In case you hadn’t heard, death is pretty hot right now—well, in the App Store at least. Casting aside the zillions of “games” offering to predict the day you’ll bite the dust (5/8/2065, thanks for asking), apps are using the idea of our demise to make a quick $0.99, and freak us out a whole lot in the process. From Google Mapping graveyards to a funeral small-talk generator, the downright dark has never been so bleakly enthralling, and is slowly but surely gathering momentum.
Whether it’s finding out who got murdered on your street, making a bucket list on your phone so you can never forget all the things you’ve failed to achieve thus far, or a wrist watch that counts down the days you have left—if morbid is your game, you’re in for a real treat.
Thought death was the ultimate leveller? Well think again, because RIP VIP feeds you a live stream of the people six feet under who actually matter. Thank goodness! Because reading all those tributes to deceased relatives on Facebook was getting super dull, right? This little grim reaper for your gadgets knows that there’s “nothing like dominating the water cooler conversation with the recent deaths of note,” so it sends alerts to your phone, tablet, or PC letting you know just which person who was an extra in that show once is no longer with us. Indeed, their criteria for who makes the cut is pretty…um, creative, calling the VIP-ness into question somewhat. But then again, this is the “preferred notification app of the newly deceased,” so it must be legit.
Just in case burial grounds weren’t creepy enough, new app iCemetery provides an interactive guide for visitors looking for the tombstones of their loved ones. If you can’t remember where the recipient of your geographically-challenged affection was laid to rest, get downloading for your journey planner to grave-town as it searches through cemetery databases to find the spot you need. Now, this is actually a pretty smart idea—until you imagine someone making their way around graves with a Siri-esque voice calling out “four yards to the left for grandpappy.” Also, while an app is handy, it wouldn’t necessarily give off the greatest vibe in the graveyard if everyone started walking around with their phones in front of their faces. By all means, though, check for the plot in advance. Or, y’know, just remember where you actually buried your relative.
There’s no funeral conversation killer like a dead deadbeat. Make sure you’ve achieved enough in your life to sustain the wake small talk of your nearest and dearest with iWish, a permanent reminder of the goals you’ve failed to accomplish. Dreams like going on a safari or making a passive income are more achievable when you’ve got them in your back pocket, says iWish, so use its slideshow and map functions to visualize all the things you want to do so that they may become a reality. Or, just fritter away time making its pretty collages and act upon none of the life aims you’ve set yourself.
We all know that funeral chitchat can be mega-awkward, so save yourself the social embarrassment of having to think up sympathetic things to say by getting an app to do it for you. Featuring gems such as “my deepest condolences for your loss” and “words cannot express our feelings,” Just to Say has a swipe-able roster of platitudes on hand for anyone incapable of formulating even the most basic sentences to use on other humans. It also gives you the option to bookmark and share its inspirational sayings, so spread the wisdom and teach others how to master the art of wake jabber. Let’s just hope too many people don’t hear of this and start all using the same sayings, because a bunch of mourners all expressing their sympathies would just be embarrassing.
If you’re totally neurotic about imminent death, then Murder Map’s got you covered: an entire city planner telling you every street someone’s died on and how they met their grisly end. The web app uses Google Maps to drop pins on all the murder sites, where you can see a photo of the deceased and read the case study on how they were killed. There are also a number of categories to narrow down your search should you be particularly fearful of, say, murder by blunt object. It also seems to relish snappy little headlines that you can remember each awful tale by more easily, like “The Serial Killer Next Door” and the “Fish and Chip Shop Murder” (yes, it’s a UK map). The whole thing basically reads as a one giant reason to never leave the house again. Ever.
So this one isn’t an app, but it’s too good (or too creepy) to leave off the list. Tikker, billed as “the happiness watch,” (really?) counts down the seconds you have left, so you can “make the world a better place.” A Tikker wearer simply fills out a questionnaire to get the death clock started. Once it’s up and running, the wearer will no longer tell time by saying, “it’s noon,” or “it’s quarter ‘til five.” Instead, time becomes “37 years, 6 months, 9 days, 16 minutes, and 27 seconds.” The project raised nearly four times its goal on Kickstarter, so I guess people are really into this idea. Yikes.