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Development of a Portable 3D Scanning System for Capturing Shoe and Tire Impressions

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2020
12 pages

This is the Summary Report on the findings and methodology of a project that tested the hypothesis that a novel noninvasive optical 3D imaging sensor can capture for forensic examination the critical, detailed characteristics of shoe or tire impressions in snow or soil and on uneven surfaces.


This project succeeded in validating the hypothesis by developing portable and fully automated 3D systems that automatically measure high-contrast or low-reflexivity surfaces. The hardware was designed to be portable and easy to set up. The software graphical user interface (GUI) was designed to be intuitive, so users do not require training to operate it. Compared to the high-end commercially available 3D scanner (GOM ATOS CORE), the project's technology achieves a similar level of accuracy and resolution. It has the advantages, however, of being more affordable at a fraction of the cost of the commercial system, easier to operate, and more robust. Further, it is non-destructive, collects more evidence detail when an impression is fragile, saves time, and costs less to collect each impression. The 3D digital cast provides detail equal to or better than that of a physical cast and requires minimal training to capture it. 3 figures and a listing of project-related publications, papers, and presentations

Date Published: October 1, 2020