The Roller Coaster Designed to Kill Its Passengers
In 2010, architect and PhD candidate at the Royal College of Art in London, Julijonas Urbonas, from Lithuania, decided to attempt to design a method of euthanizing people that they might even enjoy.
His solution- the Euthanasia Coaster, which he designed and built at a precise 1:500 scale. It’s a roller coaster that could seat up to 24 passengers and give them a good time before ultimately killing them in a painless and euphoric way. How does it work?
First, the coaster takes the passengers up 1,670 ft (509 meters) (which would make it about 3.7 times taller than the current tallest roller coaster in the world, the Kingda Ka). Next, the passengers would plummet down the other side reaching a maximum speed of over 200 mph.
Up to this point, it’s been all fun for the passengers, assuming they like roller coasters that is. If they, like me, find the free fall sensation to be extremely painful… well, up until this point, they’re going to have a bad time. And after, well… that’s not the best either.
You see, what comes next is that, after the coaster hits the bottom, it then goes into a loop, which at the speed the passengers would be going at would exert about 10 G’s of force on them, enough to drain their brain of the necessary life giving nutrients and oxygen from their blood.
Six more loops follow this first big loop, with the loops progressively getting smaller and smaller in order to maintain the 10 G’s of force throughout the loops. With the loop section designed to last 60 seconds, all without blood being able to get to the brain, the prolonged cerebral hypoxia *should*, according to Julijonas Urbonas, render the vast majority of the passengers dead. (I’m skeptical- and am going to have our resident paramedic writer Scott answer whether this would really work as part of an upcoming article on how long someone’s heart would have to stop for before there would be no point trying to resuscitate them.)
Of course, if any survived, they could then just be run through the coaster again. Or, as they’re all likely to be passed out, at that point I guess someone could just shoot them or lop off their heads or something. They wouldn’t be conscious, so probably wouldn’t mind if some less fun method was used to kill them at this point.
After all the riders are dead, the bodies could then be unloaded and new passengers put aboard, and as Urbonas said
Thanks to the marriage of the advanced cross-disciplinary research in space medicine, mechanical engineering, material technologies and, of course, gravity, the fatal journey is made pleasing, elegant and meaningful…
In theory, only people who wanted to be euthanized would be aboard the coaster. Further, the single long ride up to the top isn’t just for needed potential energy, but also to give the passengers a chance to consider their decision for a couple minutes as they climb. At the top, they choose to get off if they want. And, in fact, according to Urbonas’ design, the coaster would not continue down until those aboard all pressed a “fall” button, else the coaster would just stay there.
Although, how they’d get down if they didn’t want to die isn’t clear from the picture of the design… But, according to Urbonas
The rider has a few minutes to contemplate his decision and his life in retrospect. He would find enough time to adapt to the height and get through a series of imaginary fatal falls, while realizing that the objects on the ground are getting smaller…The slightest movement of the car would trigger intense heart-beating and goosebumps and most importantly it would test your decision. Therefore the very top of the tower is an ideal place to give the very last word.
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This is PhD thesis work?
@Wallace: No, I think this was just sort of a side project of his. I could be wrong though.
Wouldn’t a centrifuge machine as used to train astronauts and pilots be a far simpler, quicker and cheaper alternative? There would be no worries about what to do with survivors either as you would just leave it on longer.
Strange story aside, I was laughing as an idiot in the office thinking about how the small talk in the train carts would be while going up. And most of all how would some of the most determined riders would try to convince the ones with second thoughts: “C’mon man, push the button!”; “Hey we don’t have all the time here”; “Pussy!!”; “Get a life! Would you??”
As a personal praise for this site, as it is my first comment here, I don’t remember how I got to find out about it, but I really can’t “put it down”. Tons of interesting articles. (Hope my office productivity will not go through the floor)
Wouldn’t it be be wise to install two extremely sharp bends that would break the necks of the unconscious riders?
@Scuffy: That’s one solution. After talking with the paramedic who also writes here at TIFO, he’s very skeptical this would actually kill many people for the reasons stated (though quite a few would die for other reasons), though he’s researching up on it more to make sure.
I’ll quote his reply to me (he’ll do a full write up on this as stated in his upcoming article on how long the heart would have to stop for before there is no point trying to revive the person, but in short for now): “Not too sure it would work the way he describes either. 60 seconds isn’t nearly long enough. That being said, the 10 G’s might kill them because there are several ligaments that when exposed to those forces will detach and tear arteries. The biggest being the Ligamentum arteriosum. We see sudden death from this all the time with car wrecks that have those G forces. Also numerous tiny ones in the brain that when torn will cause head bleeds. But I think if it’s just the lack of blood flow to the brain… 60 seconds would definitely cause some anoxic brain damage, but I’m not sure would kill them. I’ll look around and see if I can’t find some studies on that.”
Instead of using loops, wouldn’t it be much more efficient to make use of a banked downward helix? The initial drop can be much shorter and with the use of a helix and you should be able to greatly extend the amount of time the passengers would experience 10+ G’s. If you want to keep the force relatively constant (as apposed to continuously increasing as the train accelerates down the helix), you could have the diameter of the helix start fairly small and slowly expand as the train accelerates down the helix.
Funny thing is…there was a famous roller coaster designer (I think) from years past who was once asked in an interview what the perfect roller coaster would be and he responded, rather morbidly, you send out a train with 30 people and they all come back dead.
Mr Bones says: The ride never ends!
I can imagine getting to the top with a fear of heights, too panicked to act rationally about the impending final decision regarding suicide, and far too panicked to contemplate stepping out of the car and toward the view from great heights. Pressing the button may be the only thing one can do to get away from the horrible height, and the only way to get back down to earth.
For such people, this machine would be a cruel and fatal trap.
A non-fatal version of this coaster (one which does not exceed 10G for 60 seconds) would be totally awesome.
I immediately thought of a short story I read many years ago in school – “The Carnival” by Michael Fedo. Carnival rides to help alleviate overpopulation.
I support euthanasia, but this is, well, if you don’t have something nice to say…
The most interesting feature of this design is the stop button at the top. As someone who’s sister committed suicide, I’ve done some study on the matter, and found that suicidal people often regret the action just before they die, but after they start the process in motion. This gives the illusion of being a “sure way out,” but the chance to bail after setting the process in motion could in fact save lives. Not that I think such a coaster will every be built or be legal if it is, though…
Coming to a FEMA camp near you.
I’m sorry to have missed this while fresh.
Paragraph three mentions a speed of 200 mph while paragraph four mentions free fall.
I should think 200 mph beyond terminal velocity for this coaster.
Interesting, however. Far more creative than Madame La Guillotine.
I guess you are thinking terminal velocity of a human body instead…
Urbonas is crazy good artist, designer, engeneer, researcher… , but not architect 🙂 For me he’s the No I Lithuanian Smart Artist.
Great to find his masterpiece in such vvebside 😀
I’d like to go out peacefully quiet like falling asleep. Filled up with anesthesia and a nice deep stab or 20 to the heart and DONE.
Nitrogen is the way to go: no pain, no despair sensation, no anxiety – just sleepyness until the last fall down..