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Applied Research and Development of a Three-Dimensional Topography System for Firearm Identification Using GelSight

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2014
36 pages
After developing a novel, accurate, and low-cost system for structural 3D imaging and comparison of cartridge casings, this project demonstrated the system's potential for increasing the quality and reducing the cost of forensic analyses.
The project showed that the GelSight-based imaging system developed captured the three-dimensional surface topographies of cartridge cases at high resolution. The prototype system developed was tested using several experimental datasets. Excellent performance was achieved on good and poorly marked casings. There were no false-positives across approximately 200,000 comparisons. The prototype includes a redesign of the base scanner, the design and machining of a fully functional cartridge-case mount, and the creation of software that allows 3D visualization of cartridge casings and database search. The hardware and software system has been deployed to several forensics labs, and a large experimental set of test fires was assembled. The prototype scanner and casing analysis algorithms can now be used in larger research studies by collaborating labs. 13 figures, 2 tables, and 13 references