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Evaluation of the Vision X Comparison Microscope to Share Digital Images of Bullets and Shell Casings and the Potential Impact on the Firearms and Tool Marks Community

NCJ Number
Date Published
11 pages
This is the Final Summary Overview of a project with the goals of 1) assessing the current ability of firearms and tool marks examiners to share microscopic imaging data within and between labs; and 2) assessing the impact of Vision X technology on the ability of firearms and tool mark examiners to share microscopic imaging data within and between labs.

The project design objectives and analyses are presented, followed by a statement of project findings. Based on its findings, the project concludes that the risk of a false elimination or unnecessary inconclusive result can be mitigated by requiring verification of all conclusions, not just for identifications. The project concludes that Vision X constitutes a powerful addition to the microscopic examination of cartridge cases, bullets, and toolmarks, improving the tools available to the examiner for performing comparisons. The project indicates that Vision X may be a preferred method of examination for the next generation of firearms examiners, who will be familiar with digital data systems, such as video games, mobile devices, and algorithm-based applications. The project reports that further improvements in the Vision X remote live display have the potential to promote long-distance live match determinations and inter-jurisdictional cooperation that could save significant time in the NIBIN hit confirmation process. This project report further notes that the implementation of interagency comparisons using Vision X technology is dependent on both agencies having the Vision X system and the information technology authorization to transmit data between agencies. Overall, analysis of data by the Vision X software has the potential to advance the examination of cartridge cases to meet and exceed the AFTE “Theory of Identification as It Relates to Tool Marks” by supplementing visual comparisons with statistically based findings.

Date Published: January 1, 2020