Netherlands-based Exit International has received approval for the legal operation of its assisted suicide 3D-printed Sarco pod in Switzerland.

Sarco is a 3D-printed pod that assists those suffering with a terminal condition to commit suicide. According to the company, patients can take an online test, and, if deemed mentally sound, they will receive an access code to a pod that can be towed virtually anywhere the patient requests.

Source: Exit InternationalSource: Exit International

Once inside, the user answers the system’s questions and begins the process with the press of a button. Once the button is pressed, the pod fills with nitrogen while oxygen is simultaneously reduced to roughly 1%. The user then becomes unconscious, eventually succumbing to hypoxia (oxygen starvation) in just 30 seconds.

The Sarco pod, according to its makers, will not be ready for use until 2022. Before its official release date, Exit International intends to incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) into the initial screening process to determine the mental soundness of the person applying to die by assisted suicide and a camera for documenting the user's consent from within the coffin-like pod.

So far, assisted suicide in only legal in a handful of countries — including The Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Canada and Switzerland. In those countries, assisted suicide is usually accomplished with the patient ingesting sodium pentobarbital, a barbiturate that behaves as a sedative. However, the assisted suicide process with the Sarco pod does not involve the use of controlled substances.

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