Group Developing Tool for Finding Evidence in Real Time

June 24, 2021 — The NIJ recently made a final technical report available featuring research and development of a method for quickly surveying a crime scene in real-time for potential evidence such as biological fluids, trace materials, and prints.

The project, headed by NIJ grant recipient Teledyne Scientific & Imaging, LLC, aimed to "enable an integrated multispectral imaging triage/survey tool capable of nearly real time enhancement of target signatures of forensic interest by collecting and analyzing different wavelength and polarization channels using passive or active illumination (e.g. multi-wavelength LED flash), and using powerful backend processing algorithms," according to the final technical report.

Currently, forensic light sources are the standard for enhancing target evidence at the crime scene. However, the use of these instruments and procedures generally require a mostly darkened room or scene, manpower, and can present other challenges in the field.

"Given the laborious and time-consuming nature of forensic imaging, post-processing and visualization along with logistical challenges such as need for darkening the environment, there is need for a rapid triage/survey camera that will enable a practitioner to visualize, prioritize, and guide data collection beyond what current tools can do," states the report. "There is a need for a tool that can rapidly survey a crime scene and provide nearly real time (~1 second processing time, not video rate) information to help plan and prioritize the investigation."

The researchers developed a novel lens that integrates the filter with the lens for multispectral imaging. "The lens works with polarized light and a broadband circular polarizer covering the functional bandwidth (visible-NIR) is used in front of the lens," explains the report. "The simplicity of the design enables an order of magnitude reduction in bill of material cost over a birefringent filter based approach."

The research group aims to publish results of the new design in use over the next several months.

You can read the full paper here.

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