Forensic experts who reconstruct crime scenes find that creating hand-drawn sketches and taking photographs can take days and disturb the scene, says the New York Times. Computer-aided design packages that require investigators in the field to enter data can be cumbersome, and results can be difficult for jurors to understand.
A Canadian company is demonstrating prototype software that can stitch together a few seconds of video from a hand-held stereo camera into a detailed 3-D model of a room. Police or court workers can zoom around the model to view it from different perspectives, or click to see sizes, relative distances, areas, and angles. “It gives you a third dimension,” said Detective Inspector Jeff Wilkinson of the Ontario Provincial Police, who is assessing the prototype for MacDonald, Dettwiler & Associates. “You can actually begin to develop your investigative theories about how something transpired without entering the scene.” The software is based on a new technique, local invariant features, for comparing computer images.