In our past posts, we delved into the world of crime and 3D printing. 3D printers can potentially be used to create counterfeit money and makeshift weapons, but 3D printers can also be used to solve and prevent a range of crimes that can’t easily be solved, or tackled, using current methods.
3D printing - the future of forensic science and crime prevention?
Many predict that 3D printing will help transform the way we approach crime prevention and solving crime - we will be able to prevent and solve crime in a way that we could not previously, as the writers at 3D Printer note:
“It’s not all bad though. 3D printing is also be utilized to thwart the malicious efforts of evildoers. Forensic engineer and owner of AI2-3D, Eugene Liscio, does well explaining the benefits of employing 3D printers in criminal investigations and court trials. From printing 3D scans of footprints to recreating crime scenes to producing enlarged 3D fingerprints to visualizing projectile trajectories and extrapolating facial appearance from skull structures, 3D printing will surely become a standard forensic tool.”
Saving rhinos from illegal poachers
Just as counterfeit cash brings down the value of real money, counterfeit commodities undermine the value of genuine items out on the market. But, Californian 3D printing company Pembient, hopes to use this to their advantage when it comes to the illegal poaching of rhino’s.
The company has figured out a way to use keratin and rhino DNA to bioprint rhino horns which replicate the look of the real deal. The company hope to mass produce these counterfeit rhino horns in the hope that they will bring down the value of the real rhino horns, thus hopefully putting illegal poachers off of hunting rhinos for their horns.
Solving murder cases
The Central Identification Laboratory of the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) are using 3D printers to help identify dead soldiers, as Forensic Mag note:
“They have a mission to identify the remains of American soldiers from past military conflicts. Among the lab’s tools for forensic identification are multicolor 3D printers. For example, JPAC prints a model of a skull using digital information from CT scans of the remains. The 3D printed skull is then photographed from multiple angles and superimposed with photographs of known soldiers to gauge potential matches, a process called ‘skull photographic superimposition.”
The successful use of this technology has implications for solving murder cases, as it could easily be used in cases where human remains were found and a body needed to be identified.
In the UK’s first ever case of its kind, Detective Superintendent Mark Payne and Professor Mark Williams, at WMG’s metrology, used 3D printing technology to solve a difficult murder case.
A 34 year old man was suspected of murdering another man, breaking apart his remains and throwing them off a bridge, in a suitcase. Police were convinced that the man was responsible, but didn’t have any evidence to back their convictions. The police found remains on the man’s property, but how did they prove it belonged to the murder victim? Using 3D printing technology the researchers used 3D printed version of his’ fragmented limbs and found the remains at the murder suspect’s property fitted perfectly with the victim’s remains.
This case shows how 3D printing can help us to solve cases quickly and more easily, filling in the gaps in evidence that are difficult or opposite to achieve otherwise.
A new wave of forensics and crime resolution
3D printing technology can help us prevent and solve crimes in a variety of areas. We are already seeing big developments in this area thanks to the use of the technology.