3D-printed coffin-like ‘suicide capsules’ that can be ‘towed anywhere for death’ are legalised in Switzerland

  • Switzerland’s medical board gave green light for new suicide pods
  • Dr. Philip Nitschke (also known as Dr Death) designed the pods to assist suicide. 
  • According to him, the key selling point of pods is their ability to be carried outdoors in an idyllic setting.
  • Last year, around 1,300 people in Switzerland used euthanasia organizations.

Switzerland legalised portable suicide capsules, which can be manufactured with 3D printing and carried to “idyllic” locations. 

The country’s medical review board has given the green light for use of the coffin-like devices, named Sarco Suicide Pods, which have been designed for use in assisted suicide and can be operated by users inside.

Since 1942 assisted suicide has been allowed in Switzerland. In 2020, around 1300 people used the services of euthanasia organizations.

Exit International has developed the new Sarco pods (short for sarcophagus) and advocated voluntary euthanasia.

Developer of the pods and Exit International founder Dr Philip Nitschke, known as Dr Death due to his euthanasia activism, told SwissInfo.ch the machines can be ‘towed anywhere for the death’.

A picture of the Sarco Suicide Pod, which can be operated internally and works by reducing oxygen levels

The Sarco Suicide pod, which is internal and can be controlled internally, shows how it reduces oxygen levels.

Australian euthanasia activist Dr Philip Nitschke (pictured) invented the 3D-printed Sarco suicide pods

Australian anti-euthanasia advocate Dr Philip Nitschke (pictured), invented 3D printed Sarco suicide pods

Dr Nitschke claimed that one of the key selling points for the pods is their ability to be carried outdoors in an idyllic setting.

He stated that he wanted to eliminate any psychiatric supervision from the process, and let the person control it. 

‘Our aim is to develop an artificial-intelligence screening system to establish the person’s mental capacity. There is naturally a lot to be skeptical about, particularly from psychiatrists.

The machine may be pulled anywhere to cause death. The machine can be towed anywhere, including outdoors or inside an assisted-suicide facility.

To serve as a coffin, the biodegradable cap can be detached from the base. 

A capsule is used to assist suicide in Switzerland. It sends the person into deep coma and prevents them from dying.

The Sarco pods are now able to be used from inside and reduce internal oxygen levels.   

An online survey is required to prove that the person intends to take the machine’s use.

Exit International's pods can be transported to an 'idyllic outdoor setting', according to its developer

Exit International pods are able to be taken to an “idyllic outdoors setting”, according to the developer.

The pod being transported in Venice shortly before being unveiled by Australia's so-called Dr Death, Philip Nitschke

The pod being transported in Venice shortly before being unveiled by Australia’s so-called Dr Death, Philip Nitschke

The pod will then work if you have an access code. 

Once inside the program, you will be asked questions that have been prerecorded and then press the button to begin the deadly process.  

At a demonstration last year, Dr Nitschke said the pod delivers a level of autonomy and control for the patient and can be created using a 3D printer at a cost of between $4000 and $8000.  

It is distinct from assisted suicide, which is illegal in Switzerland. 

However, it is legal to provide the means for suicide if that person is actually attempting to kill himself.

The Netherlands, Canada, Belgium, Luxembourg and Luxembourg also allow assisted suicide. 

Exit claims that only two Sarco pods were made, but it’s 3D printing another machine it says will be available for use in Switzerland next year. 

Dr Nitschke explained that, “barring any unexpected difficulties, we hope be ready to make Sarco availabe in Switzerland next year.” 

‘It’s been a very expensive project so far but we think we’re pretty close to implementation now.’