Suicide Machine that can be controlled by blinking.

Sarco pod has been criticized by anti-euthanasia activists, in part because of the methodology utilized.

image source : wikimedia commons

According to its makers, a coffin-shaped capsule that permits users to murder themselves has passed legal examination in Switzerland.

The Sarco machine operates by lowering the oxygen level in the pod to below a critical level. It may be operated from the inside – possibly merely by blinking if the person has locked-in syndrome – and works by reducing the oxygen level in the capsule to below a critical level.


The process takes less than a minute, and death happens due to hypoxia and hypocapnia, which are designed to make death as painless as possible. In Switzerland, assisted suicide is permitted, and around 1,300 people used euthanasia organisations Dignitas and Exit last year.

Both companies employ a liquid barbiturate medicine that is ingested to cause a deep coma in two to five minutes, followed by death.


Dr. Philip Nitschke, called ‘Dr Death,’ is the director of the non-profit organization Exit International, which invented the suicide pod (no connection to Exit). The Sarco – short for sarcophagus – is designed to be towed to a desired location, such as a peaceful outdoor setting, and then the biodegradable capsule can detach from the base to function as a coffin.

Opponents of euthanasia have criticised Dr. Nitschke, in part because of the approach he utilised.


In a 2018 interview with The Independent, Dr. Nitschke said, “Gas may never be an acceptable approach for assisted suicide in Europe due to the horrible associations of the Holocaust.” “Some have even said it’s nothing more than a glorified gas chamber.”

It’s also gotten some flak for its futuristic design, which some claim glamorises suicide, as well as a companion virtual reality software that lets people “experience their own virtual death.” This VR experience was shown during the 2018 Funeral Expo in Amsterdam’s Westerkerk church, causing concern among the church’s board members.


“We sincerely doubt whether supplying equipment as suggested by Dr Nitschke leads to a full and deliberate discussion around the subject,” Jeroen Kramer, head of the Westerkerk church board, remarked at the time. “Any suggestion of employing such equipment will not and cannot be supported by us.”

There are presently only two Sarco prototypes, but Exit International is 3D printing a third machine that it wants to have operational in Switzerland next year.


Last week, Dr. Nitschke informed local media that “there are no legal problems at all” and that talks with various parties in Switzerland about providing the capsule for assisted suicide are ongoing.

“We hope to be ready to make Sarco available for use in Switzerland next year, barring any unforeseen obstacles,” he stated. “It’s been a very costly effort so far, but we believe we’re getting close to putting it in place now.”



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