CENTRAL EUROPEAN NEWS
Members of the public can try out a virtual death simulation inside the "Sarco" suicide machine at Amsterdam's funeral fair
A MORBID portable "suicide machine" that allows users to end their life in minutes is now open to the public.
Attendees at the Amsterdam Funeral Fair will be able to hop in the capsule, known as the "Sarco", and take it for a test drive.
The brainchild of 70-year-old euthanasia activist Doctor Philip Nitschke (aka the "Australian Doctor Death"), the 3D-printed device fills with gas to end a person's life quickly.
But not before the prospective user passes an online test to show that they are sane and want to die of their own will, after which they receive a capsule access code that's valid for 24 hours.
Fortunately, the machine's unveiling doesn't offer the full experience.
Instead, funeral fair-goers will slip on virtual reality glasses while in the Sarco "to see if this could be a preferred life ending for them", according to a spokesperson for the event.
Through the VR glasses visitors will be able to choose a view of the Alps or the sea as the last thing they see, before pressing the suicide button, which will turn everything black.
Nitschke – who assisted in four suicides in Australia in the late 1990s under the short-lived Rights of the Terminally Ill Act of 1995 – said: "The Sarco makes it possible to die with elegance and style."
The device, which was officially announced by Nitschke's Exit International foundation in February, comes in two parts: a reusable machine base and a capsule that can be detached and used as a coffin.
CENTRAL EUROPEAN NEWS
The 3D-printed suicide capsule is the invention of Dr Philip Nitschke (aka the "Australian Dr Death")
Both can be created on a 3D printer and assembled anywhere.
The machine has been slammed by Dutch politicians and social workers alike.
A spokesman for Dutch suicide prevention hotline 113 told Central European News: "All of this seems completely unwanted to us."
MP Kees an der Staaij of Netherlands' Christian-conservative Reformed Political Party (SGP) said: "It is gruesome. Suicide is not a promotional offer and aiding with suicide is a criminal offence in the Netherlands."
MP Carla Dik-Faber of the Christian Union said: "I find it bizarre and worrying that companies are promoting machines which lead to death at a fair."
Dr Nitschke's Exit International foundation was founded in 1997 and regards the right to end one’s life as a civil rights rather than a medical issue.
It claims: “Dying is not always a medical process. As such, the dying process does not always need to involve the medical profession.
“This decision is best left to the individual concerned. Exit’s aim is to ensure the individual is fully supported by family and friends and has access to the best available information.”