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A Real Rollercoaster of Death: The Euthanasia Coaster


Visitors to the Science Gallery of Dublin’s exhibit “Human+” can see a scale model of Lithuanian artist Julijonas Urbonas’ “Euthanasia Coaster,” a conceptual steel roller coaster designed to kill its riders.

Using the laws of physics and the limits of the human body, Urbonas says his design will end lives with “elegance and euphoria.” How it works: the ride takes two minutes to climb to a 1,670 meter peak before the big drop: 1600 feet at 220 miles per hour. From there, a series of seven spiral inversions inflict 10 g on riders for 60 seconds, causing gray out, tunnel vision, and eventually loss of consciousness. As the spirals decrease in size, passengers die of cerebral hypoxia, or lack of oxygen to the brain. “Celebrating the limits of the human body but also the liberation from the horizontal life,” says Urbonas, “this ‘kinetic sculpture’ is in fact the ultimate roller coaster.”

Urbonas–a PhD candidate at the Royal College of Art and a former amusement park employee, describes what the big drop would feel like:

“You relax and press the FALL button. Whirrr… swish – the ultimate surrender to gravity! No, you realize, in fact it is even greater than just giving up, as in the blink of an eye you enter the heart-line, the whirling element of the coaster track, where your heart stays roughly in line with the centre of the fall trajectory. In other words, your body spins around the heart while you fall. Gravitational choreography! The scooting gust of wind, goose bumps, suspension of breath, and vertigo — a set of experiences comprising a sort of fairground anaesthesia — prepare you for the fatal part of the ride.

Here’s Urbonas talking about the coaster:

Euthanasia Coaster from Julijonas Urbonas on Vimeo.

And don’t forget to check out the Science Gallery of Dublin, too!