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‘Sarco’ the high-tech assisted suicide capsule

‘Sarco’, the capsule for assisted suicide developed in Switzerland, is printed in 3D, and has been designed as a rover to travel the Moon

In 2019, Australian euthanasia activist Philip Nitschke, founder of exit international, first unveiled his assisted suicide ‘sarco’ capsule in Venice. The capsule allows the user to administer a lethal dose of gases that will cause their own death in just minutes.

With the push of a button inside the capsule, the small space is flushed with nitrogen, causing oxygen levels to drop rapidly. The user will feel “mildly euphoric” shortly, before slipping into unconsciousness and finishing serenely in a matter of minutes.

All ‘Sarco’ parts can be printed on a 3D printer and Philip Nitschke has announced that he intends to make the plans freely available on the internet. The capsule is portable, and the windows allow you to see the outside. It can be operated entirely by the user, without any outside help. It also does not require medical supervision and nitrogen, an essential element to induce death, can be purchased legally.

Switzerland is one of the few countries that has legalized physician-assisted suicide. The country has one of the most progressive positions, allowing physician-assisted suicide without a minimum age requirement, diagnosis or severity of symptoms.

Confirm mental ability with AI

With the assisted suicide capsule “sarco”, Philip Nitschke seeks to “demedicalize” the process of death. Presently, a physician is required to prescribe sodium pentobarbital to confirm the patient’s mental capacity. The founder of exit international wants to remove any type of psychiatric review from the process and allow the individual to control the method themselves.

Instead of a psychiatric review, the company is developing an artificial intelligence detection system to determine the mental capacity of the person. This idea is very controversial. It is about an artificial intelligence program evaluating the person, and accompanying them to send them an essential code to activate the process. The idea has received much criticism from psychiatrists.

Today’s capsule is a proof of concept, a prototype that for the moment will only be exhibited in museums. However, it has generated enormous interest and has been placed at the center of an important debate on assisted suicide and euthanasia.

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