Total turnoff at press of a button

Central Station | 16 Apr 2018

A suicide pod that enables occupants to kill themselves by pressing a button went on display at an Amsterdam funeral show.

The Sarco - for sarcophagus - was invented by Australian euthanasia activist Philip Nitschke and Dutch designer Alexander Bannink. It comes with a detachable coffin and a nitrogen canister.

"The person who wants to die presses the button and the capsule is filled with nitrogen," says Nitschke, dubbed "Dr Death" for his work to legalize euthanasia.

The inventors put a model on display with a virtual reality glasses to give people a true-to-life-to-death experience.

Nitschke aims to build the first fully-functioning pod by year's end. Then he will put the Sarco online as a document for people to download. "That means anybody who wants to build the machine can download the plans and 3D-print their own device," he says.

Piet Verstraaten, 52, from the Dutch city of Venray, who checked out the pod using the VR glasses. "Strange but very pretty and calm," he said. "You see the moon, you see the sea."

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