Saturday, February 25, 2012
Catch a ride on the Euthanasia Coaster
The Euthanasia Coaster is an art concept for a steel roller coaster designed to kill its passengers. In 2010, it was designed and made into a scale model by Julijonas Urbonas, a PhD candidate at the Royal College of Art in London. Urbonas, who has worked at an amusement park, stated that the goal of his concept roller coaster is to take lives "with elegance and euphoria". As for practical applications of his design, Urbonas mentioned "euthanasia" or "execution". John Allen, who served as president of the Philadelphia Toboggan Company, inspired Urbonas with his description of the ideal roller coaster as one that "sends out 24 people and they all come back dead". As a hypothetical means of euthanasia, the design led to concern from anti-euthanasia associations such as Care Not Killing.
The design starts with a steep-angled lift to the 510-metre (1,670 ft) top, which would take two minutes for the 24-passenger train to reach. From there, a 500-metre (1,600 ft) drop would take the train to 360 kilometres per hour (220 mph), close to its terminal velocity, before flattening out and speeding into the first of its seven slightly clothoid inversions. Each inversion would have a smaller diameter than the one before in order to inflict 10 g to passengers while the train loses speed. After a sharp right-hand turn the train would enter a straight, where unloading of bodies and loading of passengers could take place.
The Euthanasia Coaster would kill its passengers through prolonged cerebral hypoxia, or insufficient supply of oxygen to the brain. The ride's seven inversions would inflict 10 g on its passengers for 60 seconds – causing g-force related symptoms starting with gray out through tunnel vision to black out and eventually g-LOC, g-force induced loss of consciousness. Depending on the tolerance of an individual passenger to g-forces, the first or second inversion would cause cerebral anoxia, rendering the passengers brain dead. Subsequent inversions would serve as insurance against unintentional survival of passengers.
Urbonas' concept drew media attention when shown as part of the HUMAN+ display at the Science Gallery in Dublin from April through June 2011. The display, designated as its 2011 'flagship exhibition' by the Science Gallery, aims to show the future of humans and technology. Within this theme, the Euthanasia Coaster highlights the issues that come with life extension.