A prototype of a suicide machine that gives its users the opportunity to kill themselves with the push of a button has gone on display at a funeral show in the Netherlands, according South China Morning Post.
The device was designed by Dutch designer Alexander Bannink and Australian activist Philip Nitschke, who have been advocating for the legalization of euthanasia for many years.
The machine takes the form of a capsule and contains a reservoir with nitrogen.
"The person who wants to die presses the button and the capsule is filled with nitrogen. He or she will feel a bit dizzy but will then rapidly lose consciousness and die," Nitschke was quoted by the media outlet as saying.
The inventors hope to build a fully-functioning model by the end of the year.
The prototype displayed at the exhibition offers a virtual-reality tour for visitors and gives them a chance to understand how a person who climbs into the capsule feels before ultimately pushing the death button.
The invention has caused vivid reactions among social media users.
Welcome to the future: The design will be put online as an open-source document for people to download, then people will be able to 3D print their own suicide pod.— Derek Hopper (@derekmhopper) 16 апреля 2018 г.
Some of them support the idea, claiming that it helps diminish human suffering.
Sounds about right.— Rantés (@FacingSE) 16 апреля 2018 г.
Considering things I'm always surprised that evolution didn't provide us with a simple off button?— Dave Probert Waaugh! (@daveyesfan) 16 апреля 2018 г.
Why should people who are really ready to die have to choose from a few painful methods to put an end to their physical existence?! The Sarco offers a thoughtful well planned alternative. It doesn't provide a knee-jerk impulsive death but a death with dignity.— Jeanne Appleby DeSilver (@arrowsmithwoman) 8 января 2018 г.
Others, however, criticize the invention, calling it "sickening" and absurd.
It's extremely sickening that such things even exist nd that people think they're cool…— А Благојевић🇷🇺🇺🇸 (@blagojevic_n) 16 апреля 2018 г.
Are they really kidding me. The west has plunged into deep abyss of dark age and they are only further submerging into lunacy.— Bilal Naqvi (@Water_vapor) 16 апреля 2018 г.
Ups & down are part of life and Life is very precious. I can't believe how people do this to their lives? And above all how they develop such kind of things.— Dr. Humaira (@DrHumairaChikki) 17 апреля 2018 г.
Euthanasia became legal in the Netherlands in 2002 under the "Termination of Life on Request and Assisted Suicide (Review Procedures) Act."
According to the act, euthanasia and assisted suicide are not considered a crime if they are carried out in accordance with several criteria, such as in the case of a patient's "unbearable" suffering; considering an absence of reasonable alternatives and at the patient's own request. The patient must make an informed choice and an opinion of a second doctor is also required.
Other countries that have legalized euthanasia include Colombia and Luxembourg, with Switzerland, Germany, Japan, Canada and several US states having legalized assisted suicide.