Sky News reports on a fascinating development for 3D printing: being used in forensic science in order to help solve murders!
Indeed, “the latest technology in digital scanning and 3D printing is providing vital clues and evidence in murder cases.”
“Post-mortems provide crucial information on the cause of death and CT scanning in hospitals can provide evidence. But the latest scans by the Centre For Imaging, Metrology, and Additive Technology at the University of Warwick are 100% more detailed, detecting very small injuries, which would be missed by conventional equipment.”
Additionally, the team is also able “to produce 3D renderings of injuries, even the so-called ‘micro-injuries’ not detected by conventional scanners, and the age of the injuries can also be determined, which assists pathologists in determining whether they were a consequence of the incident in question.”
Further along down the legal line, this 3D printed and scanned “evidence can be used in trials to help visualize trauma to the jury and support the pathologist’s testimony.” This has already been done with at least one criminal case.
Indeed, “micro-CT equipment and analysis was used to find evidence in the case of the death of nine-week-old Teri-Rae Palmer, whose mother Abigail Palmer was found guilty of manslaughter and wounding and sentenced to 13-and-a-half years in jail.”
“3D x-ray scanners allowed the team to identify multiple fractures to Teri-Rae’s ribs, which had occurred over an extended period of time. The ability to produce highly detailed 3D images of these shocking injuries which could be presented at court helped establish the truth and show what had happened.”
On top of this, “the team have worked on murder cases identifying who was responsible for the death in instances where more than one person was involved. In one case in which a hammer and a spanner were used as weapons, both assailants claimed innocence and work from the CT scans helped show both were guilty.”
Finally, this technology is not only being used for criminal cases. For example, “scanners were also used to make replicas of the famous dodo at the Oxford University Natural History Museum. During this investigation, they discovered the animal had been shot, with lead found throughout the skull.”
The team hopes to focus future work “on industrial forensics, including airplane and car failures, through to developing implants for human medicine such as hip implants.”
Image and Quotes Courtesy of Sky News