A transportable euthanasia device, also known as Pegasos, to die by suicide through inert gas asphyxiation.
The Sarco pod (short for “sarcophagus”) was invented by Australian euthanasia campaigner Philip Nitschke in 2017 and designed by Dutch industrial designer Alexander Bannink.
It consists of 3D-printed detachable capsule mounted on a stand, providing a rapid decrease in oxygen level while maintaining a low level of carbon dioxide. The capsule contains a canister of inert gas, the liquid nitrogen, which prevents the panic, sense of suffocation and struggling before unconsciousness, known as the hypercapnic alarm response.
On activation, 4 litres of liquid nitrogen causes the oxygen level to drop silently to less than 5% in less than one minute. According to Nitschke, “The occupant presses the button and the capsule is filled with nitrogen. They will feel a bit dizzy but will then rapidly lose consciousness and die.”
In December 2021, Nitschke said that he sought and received legal advice about the device’s legality in Switzerland. Access to the Sarco would be controlled by an online test to gauge mental fitness. If applicants pass, they would receive an access code to a Sarco device that works for 24 hours. Users of the Sarco could then choose either a dark or transparent view from the capsule, the transparent view allowing them see a certain location before dying.