3D-printable 'Death Pod' for 'stylish' and 'peaceful' suicide premiered at Venice expo
Alongside halls filled with abstract art and video installations, browsers at the 58th Venice art Biennale can now get a sneak peak at "Sarco" – short for sarcophagus, – a sleek, portable and 3D printable machine that could help bring suicide into the 21st century.
The so-called 'death pod' was designed by Australian humanist, author and euthanasia advocate Philip Nitschke, whose previous invention was called the Deliverance machine and was used by four people to commit suicide via lethal injection.
"This is the most important day of your life, the day you die. It is something not to be hidden, it should be eloquent and beautiful."
Sarco's main features were first advertised in 2017, and include an unspecified electronic questionnaire to make sure you're sane enough to decide to die. After locking yourself inside and passing the test, you get the code to start the euthanasia process. Enter it, and Sarco starts pumping nitrogen to replace the oxygen in the pod, producing a slight "tipsy" feeling before you nod off for good.
As an added bonus, the transparent lid allows you to die somewhere with a view.
"You can tow it off and have it overlooking the Alps or the lakes. When you're ready you say goodbye, use the code to get in, pull down the canopy, press a button and you die in a few minutes. It's a very peaceful death," Nitschke explained.
For those prone to last-minute second thoughts, there's a stop button and an escape hatch – because product safety is key to good design, Sarco's creators explain in a promotional video.
They built in a figurative escape hatch for themselves, too, in case a potential Sarco user happens to reside in a country where assisted suicide is illegal. In this case, Nitschke and designer Alexander Bannink suggest you 3D-print your own death pod using their idea, leaving their hands clean of potential liability for knowingly giving you a suicide tool.
The machine will be on display for the next 6 months before being shipped for its first use in Switzerland, a country where assisted suicide is legal.
Some commenters on Twitter welcomed Sarco as a sign the future has arrived – at least the way 'Futurama', a cartoon set in the 31st century, imagined it.
Not everyone was happy with the default color scheme and overall shape, though.
Someone started looking for ways to cut the corners, thrifty to the last breath.
Do you have to buy one or can you rent it?— jason streets (@OJStreets) May 22, 2019
A former physician, Nitschke is also the founder and editor at Exit International, a euthanasia advocacy group that pushes for legislation allowing people to elect when they will make their final departure.
Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!