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Mobile high-resolution 3D-Scanner and 3D data analysis for forensic evidence

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3D scanning and analysing system for footwear and tyre impression traces

3D-FORENSICS is improving the techniques for evidence recovery and forensic analysis of footwear and tyre impressions found at crime scenes. An EU initiative introduced a handheld 3D scanner and specialised analysis software.

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Certain forms of traces recovered from crime scenes can be forensically analysed. Common trace types are footwear and tyre impressions. They are captured conventionally by for example plaster casting which has numerous methodological disadvantages such as the time required to make and analyse casts. These disadvantages can limit forensic investigation and consequently the prosecution of criminals and solving of crimes. To address these disadvantages, the EU-funded 3D-FORENSICS (Mobile high-resolution 3D-scanner and 3D data analysis for forensic evidence) project developed an improved method. Project partners developed a high-resolution 3D scanner and 3D data analysis software for forensic evidence. The technology records and analyses footwear, tyre impressions and profiles left at crime scenes in 3D and colour using optical scanning technology. The scanner is designed as a battery-powered, handheld device for outdoor use. The scans generate highly resolved 3D point clouds, and colour images are taken simultaneously with a removable high-resolution camera. The 3D-FORENSICS team also developed 3D data analysis and processing software tools to provide results that can be used to investigate and prosecute crime. The software analyses 3D measurement and colour data in order to examine features of footwear and tyre impressions. The prototype scanner and accompanying software was successfully tested in scenarios similar to those found at crime scenes with a special focus on end user requirements. With no known forensic service providers currently using 3D technology for footwear and tyre trace impression recovery and analysis, 3D-FORENSICS delivered a viable and cost-effective alternative. The forensics community will be able to provide faster and more effective investigation with a 3D-FORENSICS engineered product, thus helping to solve more crimes.


Forensic evidence, footwear, tyre impressions, 3D-FORENSICS, 3D scanner

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