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Development of Dual-Resolution 3D Imaging Device and Software Tools for Shoe and Tire Impression Evidence Collection, Visualization, and Recognition

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Past Project Period End Date
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2019, $823,804)

Statement of the Problem: In the field of Impression & Pattern/Trace Evidence, the Forensic Science Research and Development Technology Working Group (TWG) identified the operational need for “novel and/or improved evidence recognition, collection, and visualization tools and analytical instrumentation for field and lab use.” Our 3D imaging technology has been demonstrated at various venues and shows great promise to address this knowledge gap and operational needs for field impression evidence collection. However, the community expressed pressing needs for further advancement to increase the value of our technology for in field and lab use. This proposal addresses the operational requirements identified by the TWG and intends to produce a novel instrument for tire tread and footwear impression evidence collection, along with software tools for evidence visualization and recognition. The proposed software and hardware system will improve the “front-end” evidence collection; and will lead to the production of a useful instrument and tools for forensic applications.

Research Design and Methods: This project will test the hypothesis that the critical and detailed evidence of shoe or tire impressions collected by a novel 3D imaging technology combined with advanced visualization software tools has equal or better quality than that collected by a standard 2D imaging technology. To test this hypothesis, we propose to develop a portable dual-resolution 3D imaging system that automatically and quickly captures 3D images, and to develop software tools for 3D data visualization and recognition. We will primarily focus on developing a system calibration method and 3D data stitching algorithms in the first year; and developing visualization software as well as evaluating our systems in the second year. If after evaluation and testing, the practitioners find that the forensic science community would be substantially benefited from this proposed technology. We plan to commercialize this technology to make it widely and affordably available.

Products, Reports, and Data Archiving: We anticipate this research will result in: 1) a portable and affordable (<$10k) 3D optical imaging system that can automatically measure shoe and tire impressions both high and low resolutions (e.g., 600 and 130 dpi); and 2) software tools for evidence visualization, recognition and presentation. Prototype systems will be available to interested practitioners to evaluate. Impression data collected from this study will be available while adhering to a prudent privacy policy. Published papers and presentations on the study results will be provided for others in the field to examine, enabling further development.

Note: This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law, and complies with Part 200 Uniform Requirements - 2 CFR 200.210(a)(14).


Date Created: September 16, 2019