The concept of the euthanasia roller coaster has been around for a while. A scale model of the coaster was designed in 2010 by its mastermind, Julijonas Urbonas.
At the time he designed the coaster, Urbonas was a doctoral candidate at the Royal College of Art in London. As far as we can tell, the euthanasia roller coaster is still just a theoretical venture. That’s no surprise since the design was greeted by negative reactions from all sides. In honor of Throwback Thursday, we thought we’d take a look back at this odd project. Feel free to weigh in with your comments. We’d love to hear what you think about it. Here’s a description of how the machine would work:
First the rider would face a long, slow climb up to more than 500 meters, giving him or her a few minutes to think back on life and contemplate the decision. At the top, there would be time to say a prayer or blow a kiss to relatives (or bail) before pressing the “fall” button and plummeting into the long steep plunge followed by the first 360-degree loop. That’s where most riders would die. According to Urbonas, traveling at 100 meters per second, the person would experience a G-force-induced loss of consciousness due to cerebral hypoxia (lack of oxygen reaching the brain), which often causes a sense of euphoria. Just in case that first one didn’t do it, six more consecutive loops would finish the job. Building the structure would be a challenge. The Euthanasia Coaster would be more than three times the height of the world’s tallest roller coaster, the Kingda Ka, which took 18 months and $25 million to construct.
Julijonas Urbonas is described on his website as an “artist, designer, researcher, engineer, writer, Vice-Rector for Art at the Vilnius Academy of Arts in Vilnius, and Ph.D. student in Design Interactions at the Royal College of Art, London.” He has been working on his PhD since 2007.
From Julijonas Urbonas’s Euthanasia Roller Coaster Site
“Euthanasia Coaster” is a hypothetic roller coaster, engineered to humanely – with elegance and euphoria – take the life of a human being. Riding the coaster’s track, the rider is subjected to a series of intensive motion elements that induce various unique experiences: from euphoria to thrill, and from tunnel vision to loss of consciousness, and, eventually, death. Thanks to the marriage of the advanced cross-disciplinary research in airspace medicine, mechanical engineering, material technologies and, of course, gravity, the fatal journey is made pleasing, elegant and meaningful. Celebrating the limits of the human body, this ‘kinetic sculpture’ is in fact the ultimate roller coaster: John Allen, former president of the famed Philadelphia Toboggan Company, once said that “the ultimate roller coaster is built when you send out twenty-four people and they all come back dead. This could be done, you know.” “Euthanasia Coaster” is nothing but a falling trajectory, curved and tangled in such a way that would leave nobody apathetic, neither the passenger,nor the spectator. Where it lands to it is up to the public to decide. It is a prop for non-existent horror movie, a real fiction, a black humour scenography, social sci-fi design, the world’s most extreme ride, a mourning sculpture, a monument for the end of the carousel evolution, a gravitational weapon, the very last trip…