“You are hereby sentenced to death by rollercoaster.” Sounds strange for a death sentence, I know, but it could very well be a reality. That is, if Lithuanian engineer Julijonas Urbonas’ invention – the Euthanasia Coaster – is ever created. For now, he only has a prototype of the amusement ride with the ultimate thrill, death itself.
Yes, you ride it, you die. That’s pretty much the concept of the Euthanasia Coaster. What could be scarier than this – a ride that lasts 3 minutes, the first two of which are spent slowly climbing a very steep slope. Once at the top, you still have a chance to make the ultimate decision of your life, to live or to die. Choose the latter, and you will be dropped at a high speed and then made to travel through a quick succession of loops. The spinning motion would create a centrifugal force that makes all the blood rush away from the brain, and insufficient oxygen would ultimately lead to death.
Inventor Urbonas has spent his childhood working at amusement parks, and is now a PhD candidate at London’s Royal College of Art. He says that his pet project is part of a field of study called Gravitational Aesthetics. The idea behind this crazy rollercoaster is to “take the life of a person humanely, with elegance and euphoria.” A person would be taken through a series of unique experiences ranging from euphoria to thrill, tunnel vision and then loss of consciousness, before finally succumbing to the jaws of death. While some might consider it the ultimate way to go, anti-euthanasia organizations say the rollercoaster, if implemented, could easily be abused. According to Dr. Peter Saunders from Care Not Killing, “Vulnerable people – the sick, elderly, disabled, or depressed would feel under pressure, whether real or imagined, to request an early death.
Interestingly, there are ways to hack the system and cheat death with the Euthanasia Rollercoaster. If you happen to be quadriplegic, your body lacks volume in the lower extremities to pool blood, and hence, you might just emerge a survivor. Alternately, if a rider wore anti-g-trousers, the thrill of the ride could be experienced without having to make it your last. Even so, I don’t think I’d be very enthusiastic about getting on such a ride. Would you?
Thanks for the tip, Razvan!