Thanks to Interesting Engineering for this:
A 3D-printed pod that assists people in suicide has passed the legal review to operate in Switzerland.
The pod called ‘Sarco’ that does not use any controlled substances. It is a euthanasia device or machine consisting of a 3D-printed detachable capsule mounted on a stand that contains a canister of liquid nitrogen to die by suicide through inert gas asphyxiation. “Sarco” is short for “sarcophagus”.
It is used in conjunction with an inert gas (nitrogen) which prevents the panic, sense of suffocation and struggling before unconsciousness, known as the hypercapnic alarm response caused by the presence of high carbon dioxide concentrations in the blood.
The Sarco was invented by euthanasia campaigner Philip Nitschke in 2017.
Access is controlled by an online test to gauge mental fitness. If applicants pass, they receive an access code to a Sarco device that works for 24 hours.
On activation, one gallon of liquid nitrogen causes the oxygen level to drop silently to less than 5% in less than one minute. According to Nitschke, ‘The occupant presses the button and the capsule is filled with nitrogen. They will feel a bit dizzy but will then rapidly lose consciousness and die‘.
While illegal in most countries, assisted suicide is legal in a handful of countries including The Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Canada, and Switzerland. A common requirement in these countries is that the person opting for assisted suicide has a terminal condition that cannot be cured and is causing them suffering.
Close to 1,300 assisted suicides were performed in Switzerland in 2020 with two organizations currently assisting the process. The method is ingesting sodium pentobarbital, usually used as a sedative. As a controlled substance, the drug needs to be prescribed by a doctor before a psychiatric review is necessary. However, Exit International, the makers of Sarco, want to make the process easier for the individual.
The 3D-printed pod that looks like a coffin can be towed to the location of choice where the individual can then lie down in it. The system then asks the individual a series of questions, which when answered will allow the individual to begin the process with the press of a button.
According to the information provided by the makers of Sarco, the pod then floods the interiors with nitrogen while reducing oxygen to about one percent. The person falls unconscious and dies of hypoxia – oxygen starvation within 30 seconds. The process does not require any injection or ingestion of controlled substances and there is no panic or feeling of choking, the company said.
The company, which is based in The Netherlands, still needs to develop a camera that will be placed inside the pod and record a video of the individual consenting to the process. It is working with organizations in Switzerland and expects to have a pod in operation by 2022.