19 Feb 2021

5 ways modern technologies are revolutionising forensic investigations

Forensic science, or criminalistics, is the application of science to aid criminal investigations. Forensic scientists use an evidence-based approach, keeping in mind criminal and legal standards.

Technology has led to immense breakthroughs in the field of forensics. Innovations in forensics fast-track investigations through real-time, on-site examinations. Experts use new methodologies and technologies to examine evidence in efficient ways. This saves resources of the investigation team and enables the teams to work in the right direction.

Consistent advancements in the field of forensic science are making way for better and faster tools. Here are 5 new technologies to keep an eye out for:

1. Xbox Forensics

An Xbox is an attractive device for criminals to store illegal information in the form of images, video, audio and text files. Electronics like the Xbox, especially when placed in proximity to televisions, computers and other devices attract less suspicion. Computer scientist and digital forensics expert, David Collins, has worked hard to find a way around this. His XFT Utility allows users to explore the directory structure of the Xbox in detail. Users can mount an image of the file system of the Xbox and go deep into the subdirectories and files. The XFT Utility can also record the process to allow for evidence in the court of law.

2. 3D Imaging

Forensic investigations are now adopting laser scanning technology from the mining industry. The technique allows for thorough scanning of the crime scene. The crime scene is then reconstructed with millimetre detail using 3D imaging. This brings the crime scene to life in a different setting. Important analyses such as mapping bullet trajectories, bloodstain evidence etc. have become possible through crime scene reconstruction. Systems are being developed to make evidence picked up due to this method admissible in court.

3. Time-tracing Fingerprint Technology

This interesting technology not only allows investigators to match the fingerprints to suspects but also allows them to determine the approximate age of a fingerprint. This helps experts rule out suspects who were not present at the crime scene during that time.

4. Layered Voice Analysis

LVA enables experts to identify various psychophysiological reactions that are indicative of stress, emotions and cognitive processes. The experts get an insight into the mental and emotional state of the suspect. Through this information access to this helps them extract information from the suspects in an effective manner.

5. DNA Phenotyping

This groundbreaking arrival in forensics uses genetics to predict the physical attributes of a person. The DNA specimen can give insights into the ancestry, geography, facial features and even eye and hair colour. It gives a near accurate indication of the appearance of the person to whom the specimen belongs. The Bouzigard case is a notable example of how this powerful tool can help investigators follow the right leads in a case.

 

The last phone number dialled from Sierra Bouzigard’s phone before she was killed was traced to a Mexican worker. This led the police to believe that the prime suspect was of Hispanic origin. However, the DNA samples found at the crime scene did not lead to a suitable match with any of the Mexican workers in the vicinity. The case hit a dead end.

Shortly after, lead DNA analyst Monica Quaal discovered a new way to exploit DNA samples and picked up the Bouzigard case. Through DNA Phenotyping, Quaal was able to discover that the suspect was of European origin and not Hispanic as the investigators had originally believed. The case was reopened with this fresh lead and the criminal was caught soon after.

Technological innovations have led to the development of powerful tools. These tools aid investigators navigate the crime and close the case effectively. Besides that, the adoption of new tools reduces the time spent per case. Forensic investigations are going through a paradigm shift and assisting the solving of homicides and other crimes.

Globe Detective Agency offers professional expertise, tools and technologies in cyber forensics, digital forensics, forensic psychology and more. Find out more about GDA’s forensic investigative services.