It would appear that the technology of 3D printing is going to be summoned to court on a regular basis, if Jacksonville, Florida-based 3D Printed Evidence has their way. The north Florida company is currently responsible for providing regional and community 3D printed models and replicas for courtroom evidence that make jurors’ jobs a lot easier in discerning details that can be enlarged, highlighted, and more.
“We’re a perfect resource for lawyers, attorneys, and anyone looking for a simple way to create persuasive evidence,” Josh Weinberger, founder of 3DE, told 3DPrint.com.
With 3D software and 3D printing technology, it’s going to be even harder for the bad guys to get away. 3DE takes away all the obvious issues that might keep legal professionals from employing the techniques of 3D printing such as apprehension about new technology and the cost. 3DE offers detailed replicas that are affordable for legal professionals to use in presenting their evidence to a judge and jury.
“3DE makes the process of creating effective demonstrative evidence simple and affordable,” says Weinberger. “We work closely on each project to ensure that all measurements and design elements match the client’s requirements down to a millimeter.”
While small-scale casts and models have been used in courtrooms for quite some time, it’s historically been an arduous process due to lack of predictability in material, elements, location, and timeframe.
We are most likely familiar with the white plaster-ish looking imprint of a shoeprint being examined in a lab on a forensics TV show. While that type of footprint casting is common, with the use of a material called dental stone, it’s not always possible or reliable to use that process for a variety of different factors.
Something else enters the picture here as well: the ubiquitous smartphone camera. Most people have a phone handy all the time — and first responders are able to take pictures of evidence which can be scanned with programs employing photogrammetry software like PhotoModeller Scanner or 3DReality.
Many steps and concerns are eliminated when a 3D printed replica can be created simply from photos. This should give the legal system an enormous amount of previously unheard of freedom in being able to create models of evidence. Not only that, these models can be manipulated so that the jury can look at an oversized replica of a fingerprint matched at a crime scene. Jurors are then able to not just look at models, but hold them and explore the evidence through touch when necessary.
3DE works with their partner company, The Forge, also of Jacksonville, a local 3D printing and 3D scanning service provider with equipment capable of digitizing and 3D printing the models. They work together to produce 3D printed models for:
- To-scale crime scenes
- Accident reconstruction
Their process consists of digitizing the 3D model and ensuring it’s structurally correct and not missing any pieces for the crucial process of serving as evidence. After that, they are able to 3D print models for use not only as evidence in the courtroom, but also as investigative devices, training pieces, and for use in testing.
How do you see this 3D printed technology impacting the legal system? Discuss your thoughts with us in the 3D Printed Evidence forum at 3DPB.com. Let us know your thoughts about 3D printed evidence there, and check out some process photos of a digitized bone: