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3D Surface and Body Documentation in Forensic Medicine: 3-D/CAD Photogrammetry Merged with 3D Radiological Scanning

NCJ Number
Journal of Forensic Sciences Volume: 48 Issue: 6 Dated: November 2003 Pages: 1356-1365
Michael J. Thali M.D.; Marcel Braun; Joachim Wirth Ph.D.; Peter Vock M.D.; Richard Dirnhofer M.D.
Date Published
November 2003
10 pages
This article discusses merging 3D photogrammetric data with a 3D radiological dataset to reach full surface and internal body documentation for forensic analysis.
Forensic, 3-D/CAD-supported Photogrammetry is the science of the measurement and 3-D reconstruction of the external surface(s) of patterned injuries, and their possible injury-causing instruments. Forensic 3-D/CAD-supported Photogrammetry (FPHG) is a method of recording and documenting the surface of objects, thus enabling a 3-dimensional image of objects in virtual space. The procedure allows the examination of (patterned) injuries for matching potentially incriminating instruments in shape, size, and angle. 3D recording of objects to be examined requires taking a series of photographs or scanning. The computer system then calculates the position in space of specific points on the surface of the objects and subsequently produces 3D data models of the objects. Using a 3D/CAD program these data models are used to generate graphic, true-to-object volume models. The objects in question, such as the muzzle imprint and the barrel of the shotgun, can then be moved against each other arbitrarily on the screen in 3D for comparison, measurement, and to possibly establish their congruence. The photogrammetric and radiological method is shown based on a muzzle imprint on the chest of a victim in a gunshot case. Through the use of the Forensic, 3-D/CAD-supported Photogrammetric method the documentation of so-called “morphologic imprints” were realized. Forensic, 3-D/CAD-supported Photogrammetry created morphologic data models of the injury and of the suspected injury-causing instrument allowing the evaluation of a match between the injury and the instrument. In addition to the photogrammetric surface registration, the radiological documentation provided by a volume scan registered the sub-surface injury, which is not visible to photogrammetry. This new, combined method creates the potential to perform many kinds of reconstructions and postprocessing of (patterned) injuries in the realm of forensic medical casework. 12 figures, 7 references