Daniel Oxley, Account Manager – Public Safety, Europe North, FARO Technologies UK Ltd discusses how the ability to precisely scan and capture important macro and micro crime- and incident-scene information can revolutionise forensics and legal proceedings
Advances in 3D scanning technology and its associated hardware have created a new paradigm in the ability to interrogate crimes and incident scenes in more detail than ever before. As well as measuring and preserving minute details, the technology will also speed up forensic processes and save significant legal time and costs.
With applications in arson, crime, homicide and accident analysis, to name but a few, the technology also removes many of the human factors and accidental biases that could skew or hinder subsequent investigations. By providing unaltered, unambiguous and unbiased total-scene coverage, the level of detail on offer really is a game changer.
Photos on their own are no longer adequate. The investigators may not photograph the whole scene or could accidentally miss items that may be vital to the ongoing investigation. With FARO’s 3D scanning technology this is no longer an issue, as it will record everything. Users cannot only capture the scene a lot quicker – saving up to three or four days and significant labour costs – but they will also have complete scene data. What is more it is all measurable. This is essential for automotive collisions or for comparison to personal-interrogation data from crime scenes, relating to suspect location, reach, attitude and position.
Primary point cloud data can be captured using an ultra-portable FARO S Series Laser Scanner, which scan can a scene to an accuracy of ±1 mm. Offering minimal set up, the unit is also self-levelling so is incredibly easy to use. Complementing the S Series scanner, and for hidden or tight-access areas, the Faro Freestyle Handheld Laser Scanner can provide extra detail for specific areas in static crime scenes or, thanks to its impressive portability, for crush events in vehicle accidents, where deformations can be easily recorded for further analysis. When additional levels of accuracy are required, for finer details in shoe prints, bite marks or tooling scrapes, the FARO Forensic Scan Arm is a portable contact/non-contact measurement system that offers a resolution of 0.05 mm – less than the thickness of a human hair.
To process and present the cloud data, FARO offers dedicated 2D- and 3D diagramming and advanced animation software, like FARO Zone 2D, Crash Zone, Crime Zone or the SCENE software. For example, using SCENE’s intuitive ribbon-based approach, users can leverage the software to not only view the scene, but also calculate suspect heights based on photos. Using optional modules, blood spatter origins can also be determined, as can bullet trajectories. Finally, for crime scene visualisation, in courtrooms for example, FARO’s Video Pro plug in for SCENE, allows users to navigate to any point and view scenes from any angle. Floors and roofs can be removed and videos can be created that can be shared and viewed on line or with virtual reality headwear.
With many judicial and law-enforcement applications already in place – including deployment by the International Criminal Court in Holland – 3D scanning is the new benchmark for fast, easy and accurate collection of vital scene data and it is already making a real difference in the world of forensics.
More information is available at http://www.faro.com
The Clackamas Criminal Reconstruction and Forensic Team (CRAFT) is an inter-agency team with one full-time and 18 on-call Reconstructionists. They have traditionally been called in to investigate fatal and serious injury crashes in Clackamas County and to assist with crime-scene investigations. Because fatal crashes were causing lengthy roadway closures, the Clackamas County, Oregon CRAFT team was challenged with limiting road closure time and opening roadways faster. As a result, the team decided to use the FARO Focus3D X 330 scanner as a solution to thier problem.
The capabilities of the laser scanner have allowed for a more flexible approach to utilizing the CRAFT resources on a variety of calls, including those they otherwise had not been able to re-spond to prior to adopting the scanning technology. Criminalist O’Neil commented on how effective the FARO scanner is at capturing crash and crime scenes, “By using the scanner, we spend less time on the scene, we get better data, and we can use a smaller crew. I prefer to have two people to set targets and move the scanner, but, if necessary, I can do it all myself.” O’Neil calculated that using the FARO Focus3D X 330 scanner has saved the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) more than $28,000 in overtime costs injust 16 months of operation.”
CRAFT is now called out to scan scenes whenever there is an officer-involved shooting, an officer-involved crash, or where a county or city liability may exist. The Focus3D X 330 provides the investigators with a unique ability to accurately verify line of sight issues in a crash or shooting incident. According to Criminalist O’Neil, “In an officer-involved shooting, you can position the view of the point cloud to be at the officer’s eye level. As you move through the cloud, you can see the scene exactly as they saw it.”
The FARO Focus3D Laser Scanner is the ideal portable scanning solution for accident reconstruction. With the Focus3D you can quickly capture the scene and minimize safety risk as well as traffic stoppages. Scan data is saved on an SD card for portable upload to the workstation for detailed analysis. The result is a permanent virtual 3D point cloud detailing vehicle, roadway and environmental conditions. This technology enables you to conduct accurate measurements and visualizations to recreate the accident for evaluation, as well as share scan data via the internet with insurance and legal agents.
Here’s an overview video for FARO Focus3D Laser Scanner for use in capturing and analyzing Crime and Accident Scenes. SCENE Forensic Extension allows for blood spatter analysis, bullet trajectory analysis, and also exports data to popular diagramming software packages (Visual Statement, Crime Zone, Crash Zone, ARAS 360, MapScenes)
The smallest and lightest laser scanners on the market – Focus3D X Series are ideal tools for indoor and outdoor applications. The fast and accurate laser scanners Focus3D offer everything you might expect from professional 3D laser scanners – with FARO’s established and well-known level of simplicity.
FARO Technologies, Inc. , the world’s most trusted source for 3D measurement, imaging, and realization technology, announces the acquisition of ARAS 360 Technologies Inc., a global leader in the development of accident and crime reconstruction, simulation and animation software.
Founded in 2010 and headquartered in Kamloops, British Columbia, ARAS produces a full suite of accident and crime reconstruction software tools that offer advanced graphics, advanced analytical tools, and the ability to work with large point cloud data sets from 3D laser scanners. The company’s newest product, Reality, is a 64-bit crash and crime software solution that was launched in November 2014. Reality provides customers with an intuitive and user-friendly interface enabling them to quickly generate precision diagrams with stunning details and graphic realism.
“The acquisition of ARAS 360 will help FARO create a complementary suite of integrated 3D documentation product offerings for our law enforcement customers,” stated Jay Freeland, our President and CEO. “By adding the ARAS products to our portfolio, along with the product offerings of the CAD Zone which we acquired last year, customers can now document and analyze any crime or accident scene with the most intuitive and powerful drawing, simulation and animation tools in the market.”
For more information about FARO’s 3D scanning solutions visit our FARO GB Website!
When an accident occurs a reliable rapid documentation is essential for forensic purposes.
Police forces and crime scene investigators alike often turn to FARO’s Focus3D Laser Scanner to ensure the capture and recording of the entire scene in 3D. However the capturing of details in narrow or not easily accessible areas where scanning with a tripod can be difficult.
Providing the highest efficiency in its field coupled with the added time saving, due to both the mobility of the scanner and its intuitive acquisition of gathered data the FARO Freestyle3D really is a perfect accompaniment to our FARO Focus3D Laser Scanner.
Not only can police officers and investigators rapidly capture any event scene in great detail, allowing for delay minimization, the FARO Freestyle3D scan data can be easily transferred to a computer for further processing and the merging with other point clouds to deliver an absolute 3D .
The new FARO Scanner Freestyle3D, a handheld scanner for professionals provides a fast and easy to use scanning solution with verifiable accuracy of the 3D colour scan data.
Moreover, the handheld 3D scanner maximises your productivity offering fast data acquisition, real-time visualisation and the largest scan volume on the market. With this the scan time in the field is reduced enormously during the point cloud acquisition as well as with the processing of your scan results.
The 3D scan data can easily be imported into all commonly used software solution to aid crime scene and forensic reconstruction.
The FARO Freestyle3D ensures a high degree of confidence on acquired data required by crime scene and forensic investigation, whilst it effortlessly captures the 3D data of almost any type of surface. The ability to quickly record a detailed point cloud of the scene and visulise the results on the tablet in real time really sets it apart from conventional measuring techniques.
The use of laser scanning in the accident reconstruction and law enforcement communities is constantly gaining more and more respect. With hardware and software having improved greatly over the past few years, capturing great detail in a quick and simple manner has been made extremely easy.
Here are 10, of many, reasons why utilizing laser scanners for forensic applications is the right choice.
1. Ease of use: The operation of a laser scanner has become much easier with the inclusion of a simpler interface, making operating the scanner less like a complicated piece of survey equipment.
FARO is the world’s most trusted source for 3D measurement, imaging and realisation technology and we are committed to furthering our offering in the law enforcement market.
In order to meet the needs of this market and provide a compelling integrated 3D documentation solution, FARO has acquired CAD Zone, Inc., a leading software provider in the law enforcement, accident and crime scene reconstruction market.
FARO laser scanning technology will be integrated with CAD Zone’s point cloud software application, in order to provide turnkey solutions for forensic applications and create the right 3D documentation solution.
Laser Scanners are being integrated into Police Forces throughout the world, with London Metropolitan Police being the latest to use FARO Laser Scanning technology to investigate traffic incidents.
The Laser Scanner allows for the documentation of crime scenes, through an augmented reality model and this means that jurors can be better informed of evidence and more information may be presented during a trial.
FARO Focus 3D specialist David Southam took time to speak with the BBC and explained how the equipment actually works.
To see the BBC video interview click here!