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.”
There are quite a number of structures unique to London: Big Ben, the London Eye, St. Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey, to name a few. But even the most ardent of Londoners may not be aware of their city’s one and only lighthouse, which has been unassumingly tucked away in London’s East End since 1864. Maybe the lighthouse’s lack of acclaim is due to the fact that it doesn’t serve as a lighthouse at all. Or that it never has, actually. From the outset, Trinity Buoy Wharf Lighthouse served as an experimental hub for pioneering lighting techniques to be implemented in lighthouses and lightships along the entire coast of Great Britain. The lighthouse’s design and construction was the brainchild of Sir James Douglass, who is best known for his work on the fourth Eddystone lighthouse at Rame Head. But Douglass was far from the only eminent Briton to work at Trinity Buoy Wharf Lighthouse. When oil and gas lighting were deemed obsolete, Michael Faraday, best known for his discoveries in electromagnetism, was commissioned to create and test different designs for electric lighting and lenses. He even set up a workshop on-site to have direct access to test his ideas.
Beyond boasting an impressive historical record, the lighthouse is also an extremely well-preserved example of Victorian architecture, making it the perfect subject for a new technique in heritage preservation. It is an all too common and devastating development when a structure, which once stood in pristine condition, falls into such disrepair that it can no longer be visited or recognised. Any record that would have been pre-emptively collected would likely have been limited to photographs, written documents and short videos, none of which allow a visitor to experience the structure as it once stood.
Taking advantage of recent advances in cutting edge technology, a team of visual and audio engineers aims to change this trajectory. Using a laser scanner, the team first captures the dimensions of the structure of interest. The data is converted into a 3D model which is then rendered into a virtual reality environment. Using a virtual reality headset, a user is able to effectively “step into” the structure as if walking around the actual site. Strategically placed audio clips inform the user of the structure’s history, so he or she is left with a very powerful, immersive sensory experience highlighting the structure’s beauty and historical context. The team hopes that the project will set a precedent for heritage preservation so that more people can explore a repository of heritage sites as they currently stand rather than after they have fallen derelict, scattered as fragments, overgrown and forgotten.
To create the digital model, Adrian (pictured) used the FARO 3D X130 tripod-mounted laser scanner to gather point cloud data at 2mm precision of the entire exterior and interior of the lighthouse and adjoining chain store. The efficiency of the scanning allowed a general scan to be obtained in less than 6 hours. For the more detailed objects like the singing bowls in the picture, Adrian used a FARO Scanner Freestyle3D. It’s hand-held design allows the user to capture all sides of an object in a single sweep rather than through multiple re-adjustments of a static scanner. The smaller size of Freestyle 3D also allows accessibility into hard-to-reach nooks and crannies that might prove impossible to capture with a static scanner. The only downside is looking like you are performing new-age yoga while gathering data. But who really cares when the data come out so darn good?
After 112 years, the Natural History Museum, London have decided to remove the iconic Dippy the Diplodocus. The specimen will be replaced with the real skeleton of a blue whale that was found on an Irish beach in 1891. Dippy will now embark on a UK tour around 8 venues.
The FARO Focus was used by the team to capture the surface detail of the whole specimen while it was in a mounted position. The task was particularly difficult as the specimen was made up of many different components therefore multiple scans had to be taken from different angles. It took approximately two hours to scan the whole skeleton. The scan data will give scientists the opportunity to learn more about the skeleton and help conservators to move the dinosaur safely around the country.
In addition to this, the FARO ScanArm HD was used to scan the real bones belonging to the blue whale. The reason behind scanning the blue whale was that the Natural History Museum needs to have a digital representation of it should anything unanticipated happen to the real skeleton. The skeleton of the blue whale is one of a kind and almost invaluable. Consequently, the Natural History Museum needs to have as much information about it as possible as this would help them to repair or reconstruct it if it was ever damaged. This project is the first of a huge project that is planned between FARO and the Natural History Museum.
Rugby, United Kingdom, 9 June, 2016 – FARO Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:FARO), 3D technologies open up chances for industrial production, which have by no means been exploited to the full so far. Be it the mapping of existing facilities and buildings, measures for quality assurance or intelligent production planning and control – 3D technologies help to increase productivity and efficiency in all of these areas.
Experts and interested parties from all over Europe will be discussing future potential and practical experiences at the next FARO 3D Conference, which will take place on 3rd and 4th November 2016 at the Kraftwerk Rottweil. This networking event offers exclusive insight into the latest developments of the world’s leading provider of measurement and imaging technology. With talks, workshops and presentations, FARO wants to introduce the entire bandwidth of application possibilities of its hard and software products.
The conference participants can discover for themselves with the help of numerous hands-on training activities, just how simply and precisely 3D objects can be scanned and how quickly the data can be processed. Experienced users of the 3D technologies will highlight some best-practice examples and provide valuable tips and tricks for getting the most from the FARO product portfolio.
FARO specialists Dr. Bernd-Dietmar Becker, Chief Technology Strategist and Oliver Bürkler, Director Product Management, will take a look at the factory of the future in their visionary plenary lecture. “We provide the participants with an exciting overview of the latest product ideas from the FARO lab”, says Dr. Bernd Dietmar Becker, “and offer them a platform for discussing visionary ideas and strategies with experts and opinion leaders from the 3D arena.”
A ‘Call for Papers’ has been issued by the company so that interested parties can help to shape the 3D conference. The conference will be held in English.
More information can be found here.
As part of its services to clients especially those in the gas and electricity sector, ARGON offers measuring solutions to determine when maintenance of its devices is necessary. Careful decisions regarding maintenance have to be as cost effective as possible.
Before going over to the FARO Edge ScanArm and FARO Laser Tracker, ARGON saw that the previous hardware that was offered didn´t meet ARGON´s requirements according to Stijn De Leener, Finance, HR and Administration at ARGON: “The previous devices were too difficult to handle for our engineers and especially for the clients. In addition, the point cloud was too small for our line of work and the accuracy needed improvement since the more accurate you can be, the better informed your decisions can be. Because of this we made the switch to the FARO Edge ScanArm and this in combination with the FARO Laser Line Probe has brought spectacular results.”
3D CORROSION SCANNING WITH THE FARO EDGE SCANARM
As part of its pipeline integrity management, a main independent operator of both the natural gas transmission and storage infrastructure in Belgium monitors corrosion on its gas transport pipelines with the help of ARGON and the FARO ScanArm. 3D scanning increases the accuracy of the corrosion measurements, leading to better informed decisions and lower repair costs. Quantification of this corrosion is not easy since pipes are curved and corroded spots have complex shapes. Traditional measurement methods like calipers are often unusable and very conservative, giving less accurate values of the corrosion state. Using the FARO ScanArm, ARGON is able to make a 3D copy of a corroded area.
The next generation of automated probes offer advanced in-process inspection for integration and infrastructure at minimal costs.
The FARO Factory Array Imager is a scanner with extremely high accuracy for contactless measurements which, with its blue-light technology measurement, within seconds computes several million 3D coordinates on component surfaces – regardless of colour, texture, reflectance or ambient light.
Structured light and stereo recordings open up new possibilities in 3D measurement & inspection and reverse engineering. The new optical 3D measurement system by FARO, the FARO Factory Array Imager, combines the two processes and complements them with high-performance 3D processing.
The combination of flexibility, portability, speed and accuracy makes the compact and light FARO Factory Array Imager an ideal but cost-effective solution for 3D data capture or reverse engineering of components or modules in many different industries, such as automotive, aviation and space flight, and mechanical and plant engineering.
Now it’s official: paintings and pieces of art that have been scanned with the FARO Focus3D suffer no damage through heat. This has been confirmed by a report by Seibersdorf Labor GmbH.
The recordings of pieces of art or interiors of museums is quick and reliable with laser scanners – and can even be done during visiting hours thanks to the safety of scanners for eyes. Nevertheless, the question of whether pieces of art suffer damage as a result of scanning arises time and again. Reason enough for FARO to have this danger investigated in a report.
Oil paintings are seen as particularly sensitive. Paint and oil have low thermal conductivity and heat capacity values. The high-energy laser could cause an increase in the temperature on the surface and damage the substance of the painting considerably. The report does away with these fears.
For a worst case scenario, a FARO Focus3D X was set up at a distance of one metre from an oil painting – without any protective glass between the piece and the scanner. If a scan is conducted in which the scanner moves horizontally – as is customary in practice – there is a temperature increase on the surface of the oil painting of less than 1.3 degrees Celsius. Even if the head of the scanner doesn’t move and the painting is thus scanned with the laser beams for several minutes, the maximum temperature increase is under 2 degrees Celsius.
To test restorative techniques for example, it is normal to place items with oil paints in an oven for several days at over 60 degrees Celsius and so accelerate an aging process. Against this backdrop, it quickly becomes clear that a short-term temperature increase of less than 2 degrees Celsius due to the FARO Focus3D will cause no damage. This has now been confirmed in the report by Seibersdorf Labor GmbH. It also permits the conclusion that photochemical effects are very unlikely at a wavelength of 1,550 nm – good news for the use of the FARO family of laser scanners in the area of cultural assets.
The Dancing Faun was discovered on October 26, 1830 in the ruins of the most opulent Roman home discovered at Pompeii: the House of the Faun, as it later became known, which was also home to the Alexander Mosaic. The Faun is thought to be either a 2nd-century Greek original, or a very high-quality Roman copy.
With help from the FARO Edge ScanArm HD, Cosmo Wenman were able to scan a 18th-centruy plaster cast of the Faun at the Skulpturhalle Basel museum. The scan did however require some digital resculpting to restore loss of detail in the plaster and to restore two broken fingers on his left hand. With this Cosmo Wenman plan to use the 3D scanned data to cast a 1:1 copy in bronze, the first of its kind.
Ideal for capturing highly accurate and detailed historical artifacts, the FARO Edge Scan Arm can enable the reverse engineering or even aid in the restoration of artefacts just like that of the Dancing Faun. However the products versatility means that, no matter what you are up against, be it a need to perform 3D inspections, CAD-to-part analysis or alignments – FARO’s portable CMMs are the industry standard in Metrology.
Stampinox S.r.l., a leading company in the hot-forged special fasteners sector, is located in Merone, Italy, halfway between Como and Lecco. It manufactures fasteners with no dimension limits and with diameters as small as M6 (metric system) or ¼” (imperial system), in alloy and stainless steels, titanium, duplex, super duplex and special alloys and materials.
Highly qualified personnel carry out control activities using inspection and testing systems and up-to-date procedures. The use of control instruments capable of preventing the waste of materials and time is also fundamental. “In recent years,” Stefano Marelli explains, “many of our clients have started requesting fasteners with increasingly strict tolerances to be used on parts with shapes and dimensions that are very difficult to measure. With traditional measurement instruments, it was extremely laborious to check measurements and concentricity, planarity and linearity rations on elements that are so small and, at times, also difficult to reach. We also tried out other types of solutions, such as mechanical sensors and probes, but we were never completely satisfied”.
Stampinox therefore decided to acquire a more technologically advanced instrument, the FARO Edge portable coordinate measurement machine (CMM). Stefano Marelli explained: “We have found the FARO Edge to be the ideal instrument to meet our needs. It is capable of easily checking product quality using 3D inspections and measurements, dimensional analysis and CAD comparisons. It is also much more flexible than other 3D measurement devices: it can be used in the metrology room as well as on-machine right in the workshop. This last feature is particularly useful and convenient, since it enables us to speed up in-process as well as end-of-process controls. That saves us precious time.”
The FARO Edge measurement arm uses next-generation technology to guarantee top-of-the-line performance and reliability. Users will also find the device even simpler to use due to its integrated computer touchscreen. Stefano Marelli continued: “It was quite straightforward to begin using the measurement arm at our company. The FARO technicians who worked alongside us during the initial period of training and support helped us to appreciate how easy it is to use. It is no coincidence that the FARO Edge is used not only by measurement personnel, but also by other non-specialist staff.”
Today, about one year since it was purchased, the FARO Edge has become an indispensable tool in the Stampinox workshop. Stefano Marelli stated: “When it comes to verifying tolerances in particular, this instrument provides extremely high levels of repeatability and accuracy, fully in line with the objectives we had set for ourselves. However, it is especially the measurement acquisition speed that has left us absolutely satisfied: with the FARO device, the speed of control operations has increased considerably, typically by around 20-30%.” To sum up, as confirmed by Stefano Marelli, this device has turned out to be an important and crucial investment for Stampinox: “The FARO Edge has allowed us to take a significant step forward, as it enables us to sell complex products that we previously had the technical capability of manufacturing, but were not able to measure adequately.”