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The MIT Technology Review reported 13 October:

In a workshop in Rotterdam in the Netherlands, Philip Nitschke—“Dr. Death” or “the Elon Musk of assisted suicide” to some—is overseeing the last few rounds of testing on his new Sarco machine before shipping it to Switzerland, where he says its first user is waiting.

This is the third prototype that Nitschke’s nonprofit, Exit International, has 3D-printed and wired up. Number one has been exhibited in Germany and Poland. “Number two was a disaster,” he says. Now he’s ironed out the manufacturing errors and is ready to launch: “This is the one that will be used.”

A coffin-size pod with Star Trek stylings, the Sarco is the culmination of Nitschke’s 25-year campaign to “demedicalize death” through technology. Sealed inside the machine, a person who has chosen to die must answer three questions: Who are you? Where are you? And do you know what will happen when you press that button?

Here’s what will happen: The Sarco will fill with nitrogen gas. Its occupant will pass out in less than a minute and die by asphyxiation in around five.

A recording of that short, final interview will then be handed over to the Swiss authorities. Nitschke has not approached the Swiss government for approval, but Switzerland is one of a handful of countries that have legalized assisted suicide. It is permitted as long as people who wish to die perform the final act themselves.

Nitschke wants to make assisted suicide as unassisted as possible, giving people who have chosen to kill themselves autonomy, and thus dignity, in their final moments. “You really don’t need a doctor to die,” he says.

Because the Sarco uses nitrogen, a widely available gas, rather than the barbiturates that are typically used in euthanasia clinics, it does not require a physician to administer an injection or sign off on lethal drugs.

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