Authors: Bornik A, Urschler M, Schmalstieg D, Bischof H, Krauskopf A, Schwark T, Scheurer E, Yen K
Three-dimensional (3D) crime scene documentation using 3D scanners and medical imaging modalities like computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are increasingly applied in forensic casework. Together with digital photography, these modalities enable comprehensive and non-invasive recording of forensically relevant information regarding injuries/pathologies inside the body and on its surface. Furthermore, it is possible to capture traces and items at crime scenes. Such digitally secured evidence has the potential to similarly increase case understanding by forensic experts and non-experts in court.
Unlike photographs and 3D surface models, images from CT and MRI are not self-explanatory. Their interpretation and understanding requires radiological knowledge. Findings in tomography data must not only be revealed, but should also be jointly studied with all the 2D and 3D data available in order to clarify spatial interrelations and to optimally exploit the data at hand. This is technically challenging due to the heterogeneous data representations including volumetric data, polygonal 3D models, and images.
This paper presents a novel computer-aided forensic toolbox providing tools to support the analysis, documentation, annotation, and illustration of forensic cases using heterogeneous digital data. Conjoint visualization of data from different modalities in their native form and efficient tools to visually extract and emphasize findings help experts to reveal unrecognized correlations and thereby enhance their case understanding. Moreover, the 3D case illustrations created for case analysis represent an efficient means to convey the insights gained from case analysis to forensic non-experts involved in court proceedings like jurists and laymen. The capability of the presented approach in the context of case analysis, its potential to speed up legal procedures and to ultimately enhance legal certainty is demonstrated by introducing a number of representative forensic cases.
Forensic Science International, 287, 12–24