Coming Soon: Augmented Reality Goggles for Crime Scene Investigations

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Life imitates art? Augmented reality crime scene investigations as depicted in the video game “Heavy Rain” gives an idea of what this tech might be like. [Photo: Quantic Dream]
Augmented reality apps on our phones are pretty neat for directing us to the closest Starbucks and for providing some other computer-on-the-go HUD effects, but in the future it could be used to fight crime.

A group of scientists from the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands have developed a pair of AR goggles to be used in crime scene investigations. The goggles consist of two head mounted 3D-cameras feeding video to a backpack with laptop.

With this tech, you'd be free to move and look around while you manipulate the electronic display with a pair of gloves. The left hand brings up a set of menus and tools, while the right hand acts as a pointer. By pointing to a blood splatter or bullet holes (for example), you'd be able to tag them as points of interest in a 3D-model of the crime scene.

The system is also set up to completely document the crime scene with a video and audio track. This sort of virtual record would allow a new investigator to explore the crime scene and it may also be accepted as evidence in future court cases.

As cool as this AR CSI sounds for a Minority Report/Heavy Rain future for crime solving, I can imagine archaeologist and paleontologist are foaming at the mouth for this sort of technology too, since they still have to create records with 3D grids, measurements of every dimension, and drawn images of their dig sites.

The system has proven to be effective in a mock crime scene, so the scientists plan to test it in a real-world crime scene with the Dutch Police, and potentially use it to teach new investigators. The results of the study will presented in March at the Computer Supported Cooperative Work conference in Bellevue, Washington.

[New Scientist]

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