The Sciences

Forensic scientists can use an Xbox Kinect to collect crime scene data.



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Photo: Flickr/Alan CleaverAnalysis of crime scenes involves a lot more tedium than shows like CSI would have you believe. That's because it's vital that the relative positions of all potential evidence are accurately measured and recorded. Traditionally, such distances are measured using expensive scanners, lasers, or even plain old tape measures. But with single stroke of brilliance, these forensic scientists are proposing a new method that might just make all that painstaking data collection a thing of the past. They propose taking advantage of the detailed object mapping used by the Xbox Kinect interactive gaming system. They compare its measuring capabilities to that of proven scanning systems, and as long as you keep the Kinect within three meters of the target, it works pretty well. How long do you think it will be before we see this on CSI?Application of Kinect Gaming Sensor in Forensic Science. "Kinect sensor appears as a low-cost option for 3D modeling. This manuscript describes a methodology to test the applicability of Kinect to crime scenes. The methodology includes the comparison versus well-established scanners (Faro and Trimble). The parameters used for the comparison are the quality in the fitting of primitives, a qualitative evaluation of facial data, the data quality for different ranges, and the accuracy in the measurement of different lengths. The results show that the Kinect noise level increases with range, from 5 mm at 1.5 m range to 15 mm at 3 m range. It is considered that for detail measurements the sensor must be placed close to the target. A general measurement of a sample crime scene was analyzed. Errors in length measurements are between 2% and 10% for 3 m range. The measurement range must be limited to c. 3 m." Related content: Flashback Friday: What do you get when you combine forensic scientists, chainsaws, and pig carcasses? The goriest research ever! NCBI ROFL: Frequency of pubic hair transfer during sexual intercourse. NCBI ROFL: Bobcats eating cadavers. Now THAT's science.

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