The Suicide Machine

Should any rational person be given the right to die?

Australian euthanasia activist Philip Nitschke wants to revolutionize the way we die.

Photo via Exit International

Earlier this year at the Funeral Fair in Amsterdam, he revealed his new invention “The Sarco,” short for sarcophagus. The 3-D printed Sarco is shaped like a coffin and hooked up to a large nitrogen container. It looks like a futuristic space pod, and that’s on purpose, as it’s meant to evoke feelings of flying off into the great beyond.

According to Nitschke, the 3-D printing plans will be on the market next year for anyone to download. But those who want to activate it will first have to take an online test in order to determine whether or not they were of sound mind to make the decision to die.

Those who passed the test would then receive an access code good for only 24 hours (so I guess you need to be sure!). Customers then need only get in, close the door, and simply press a button. The nitrogen that pumps into the Sarco would cause them to pass out in about a minute of euphoria before dying of hypoxia.

Guests lined up at the Funeral Fair to have the opportunity to experience what it’s like inside the vessel using virtual reality glasses.

According to Nitschke, this goes beyond the “dying with dignity movement,” so it’s important not to lump this together with rights for the terminally ill. Instead, this is about providing the so-called right to die to any rational person who wants it. Nitschke says:

“As my work in this field has matured, my vision has shifted from supporting the idea of a dignified death for the terminally ill (the medical model) to supporting the concept of a good death for any rational adult who has “life experience” (the human rights model). At Exit International, the nonprofit organization I founded after the aforementioned overturning of the world’s first voluntary euthanasia law, we interpret that to mean anyone over 50 years of age.”

Does anyone over 50 deserve the right to die on their own terms? If a person makes the decision to commit suicide, is this a better method than others, especially if other methods can traumatize bystanders and rescue workers?


Here’s Why I Invented A ‘Death Machine’ That Lets People Take Their Own Lives (Huffington Post, 2018)

Nitschke’s “Suicide Machine” Draws Crowds at Amsterdam Funeral Fair (The Guardian, 2018)

Rise of the DIY Death Machines (Motherboard, 2018)

A Doctor Built a Machine That Helps People Die (Tonic – Vice, 2017)

Meet the Elon Musk Of Assisted Suicide (Newsweek, 2017)