Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2014, $356,039)
As submitted by the proposer:
The potential benefits of multispectral imaging and real-time imaging processing for crime scene investigation have been clearly demonstrated by proof of concept experiments in which latent evidence such as blood stains, ink stains, latent prints, tire prints on dark clothing, etc. can be enhanced to visualize evidence which may be difficult to detect or locate when only viewed with visible light. A recently completed report on the development of a multispectral forensic survey camera funded by a National Institute of Justice award to Teledyne Scientific & Imaging (TSI) in 2012finds that crime scene investigators are tasked with detecting and collecting physical evidence present at the scene, including body fluids, hairs, fibers and latent prints. These are often difficult to distinguish from the background and may present a formidable challenge to detect and identify. Yet despite the clear value of multispectral detection capabilities, until now, multispectral technology has not been available in a form suitable for deployment to the crime scene: the technical challenges to be overcome are weight, cost, complexity, ruggedness, portability and user friendliness.
The overall goals of the project are to decrease the time and cost for forensic analyses of latent evidence at a crime scene as compared to current standard device practices and to improve the quality of latent evidence detection. These goals will be achieved through the development of a novel multispectral imaging camera system for the front end detection of latent evidence. The camera system utilizes a new approach to multispectral imaging that captures many wavebands simultaneously by the use of a new off-the-shelf optical technology based on a frustrated (leaky) waveguide approach. The resultant multispectral camera design has no moving parts, is compact - little bigger than a SmartPhone - and as with a SmartPhone the data captured could be efficiently transmitted using established telecommunication channels and manipulated through image processing onboard the device itself. With such a device in hand, those first on the scene can mobilize detection methods presently only available in a laboratory.
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