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Interview for PVT

Every detail in focus

3D Scanners and VR-enabled Software Help Forensic Investigation and Security Planning

 

The use of 3D scanners for crime, crash and fire investigation as well as pre-planning in the safety and security business are already well established in the USA. In Germany the trend is still emerging, yet the demand is high. pvt spoke to Jeff Ruiz, Vice President, Public Safety and Forensics at FARO, the leading international solution provider for high-precision 3D data capture, scene reconstruction, and analysis.

 

pvt

Mr. Ruiz, German emergency services are increasingly using 3D scanners and specialized software to record sites of accidents and capture crime scenes. How is the work of the emergency services changing as a result of this technology?

 

Jeff Ruiz

Police officers, firefighters, as well as forensics and law enforcement personnel are under enormous pressure. They record and document difficult and stressful situations very quickly and with absolute precision. Their work is often used as evidence and can easily prove crucial. 3D scanners provide very efficient support to this group of people in their work. In the past many documentation workflows were time-consuming. Investigators used cameras, measuring wheels, and protractors, now a scene can be captured quickly, in detail, with high accuracy, in three dimensions, and be visualized with help of VR-enabled software. This saves valuable resources in terms of staff and time, which can be used for other tasks.

 

pvt

What exactly is working with the laser scanner like?

 

Jeff Ruiz

Imagine a complex accident scene with multiple vehicles and injuries or fatalities. In just a few minutes, emergency services can capture the entire accident site, including scattered vehicle parts, skid marks, and the like. The scanner misses nothing. Later analysis of the 3D data allows every detail to be observed and measured from every conceivable angle. Damage to vehicles and the scattering of broken glass or plastic parts can also be analysed and assessed at any time. This enables objective evidence to be provided even years after the accident. By quickly capturing the entire scenario, the emergency services can re-open the road in a very short time – and with the certainty that no information will be lost.

 

pvt

3D laser scanners are also used in forensics. How can the technology assist here?

 

Jeff Ruiz

Prosecution often comes down to the tiny details. If a crime scene is recorded with a 3D laser scanner, many questions can be answered quickly and significantly greater accuracy. In what exact position was the victim attacked? Blood spatter, for example, can be used to determine the precise angle at which a victim was struck. With our latest software release, FARO Zone 3D 2018, the scans can be analysed in detail and converted into both 3D and 2D views. Investigators can also present the circumstances of a crime in court using detailed analysis and animation tools. The entire scene can be viewed in VR in a rich and immersive environment, using a compatible VR headset

 

pvt

It sounds like a lot of training is needed. What previous knowledge do users need to have in order be able to work with the laser scanner and the Zone 3D software?

 

Jeff Ruiz

Our mission is to provide users with rapid support in their tasks, with user-friendly solutions. Anyone can work with Zone 3D without any specialist previous knowledge or long training courses. Zone 3D’s highly specialised tools are of particular advantage for emergency and safety personnel, as well as for forensic pathologists – for example for impact and speed analysis of for the analysis of the trajectory of a projectile. In collaboration with experts in public safety and forensics, we have acquired an in-depth understanding of their working and analysis methods for the development of these tools.

 

pvt

For which other applications will the technology be particularly interesting and beneficial in the future?

 

Jeff Ruiz

The scenarios recorded with the 3D scanner are extremely suitable for training emergency personnel. Aspiring police officers and firefighters can, for example, train using real accident scenarios or crime scenes. Experts and emergency personnel in special units can also carry out their training in a realistic simulation of a specific crime scenario, using virtual reality headset. This means that once they are recorded in 3D, scenes of crime and accident sites are permanently available both for analysis and training purposes. Another interesting field is in the planning of safety measures for large events, state visits or similar. If the areas requiring safety measures are recorded in three dimensions in advance, emergency personnel can identify potential dangers at an early stage and plan their deployment to optimum effect.

 

pvt

Mr Ruiz, thank you for the interview.

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