Inventors Alexander Bannink and Dr Philip Nitschke are two euthanasia advocates who recently revealed the model of their “Sacro,” a 3D-printed ‘suicide pod’ that kills users in the blink of an eye and even has a detachable coffin.
“The person who wants to die presses the button and the capsule is filled with nitrogen,” says Nitschke, an Australian euthanasia activist. “He or she will feel a bit dizzy but will then rapidly lose consciousness and die.” He says the goal is “to provide people with a death when they wish to die,” and called death “the right of every rational adult.”
Dr Nitschke has been developing devices in the hopes that he can make suicide widely available to the general public. His earlier devices include: a IV system that dispenses lethal barbiturates into the bloodstream and the “exit bag,” a breathing mask that releases carbon monoxide. The Sacro (short for sarcophagus) was inspired by the case of Tony Nicklinson, a british man who suffered from locked-in syndrome and lost a court battle that would allow doctors to legally assist his suicide. Nicklinson’s lawyer reached out to Dr Nitschke, who then started to think about how it would be possible for someone with limited movement to be able to end their own life without assistance. The Sacro has been designed to offer people the option to peacefully end their own life in an effective and dignified manner.
According to Nitschke, users would first need to take an online mental health test, if cleared, they would be sent an access code which is valid for 24 hours. Critics have called the pod a glorified gas chamber and have highlighted the negative connotations associated with such a machine.
Euthanasia is legal in several European countries and in some parts of the United States. Nitschke wants to use his most recent invention to help people interested in euthanasia. “In many countries, suicide is not against the law, only assisting a person to commit suicide is,” he said. “This is a situation where one person chooses to press a button … rather than, for instance, standing in front of a train.”
The first fully-functional Sacro machine will be built later on in the year in Netherlands. It will then be shipped to Switzerland, where assisted suicide is legal. Dr Nitschke also plans to develop a 3D-printable version that would allow users to print and assemble it anywhere in the world.
Image Credit: Exit International