Switzerland has legalized a 3D-printed pod that will allow those who wish to die an assisted death to choose where they want to pass on. The Sarco Pod, created by Exit International, is said to allow for quick and painless euthanasia and does not require outside assistance. As the functionality can be activated from the inside, users can partake in self-euthanasia.
The sarcophagus-like machine was created as an alternative to current methods; which, in Switzerland, consists of swallowing a pill that puts the person into a coma prior to death. Sarco Pod, instead, works by slowly reducing the amount of oxygen in the capsule while increasing nitrogen. According to Dr. Philip Nitschke, the founder of Exit International and creator of the Sarco Pod, the method makes for a painless death.
Once the person is inside the capsule, they are required to answer a set of pre-recorded questions and then press a button. At that point, the oxygen level inside plummets. There is, however, an escape hatch should someone change their mind. According to the company, the machine provides a “happy hypoxic death,” as the low oxygen provides a state of euphoria before the person then passes out.
“We want to remove any kind of psychiatric review from the process and allow the individual to control the method themselves,” Nitschke said. “Our aim is to develop an artificial intelligence screening system to establish the person’s mental capacity. Naturally, there is a lot of skepticism, especially on the part of psychiatrists. The benefit for the person who uses it is that they don’t have to get any permission, they don’t need some special doctor to try and get a needle in, and they don’t need to get difficult drugs.”
Nitschke points out that the pod, which can also be used as a coffin, can be transported anywhere, even in an “idyllic outdoor setting.” All of this is to meet Nitschke's goal to give more people the opportunity to decide how, when, and where they would like to pass on.
Now that the Sarco Pod has passed legal review in Switzerland, the plan is to get it on the market in 2022.