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Australia Crime Technology

Australian Police Deploy 3D Crime Scene Scanner 65

Posted by timothy
from the can't-replace-a-good-blood-spatter-analyst dept.
angry tapir writes "Police in the Australian state of Queensland will employ a handheld laser scanner that can be used to map crime scenes, including in areas where there is no GPS reception. The police will use the Australian developed Zebedee laser scanner: A LiDAR scanner that is mounted on a spring. As a user walks around, the spring moves and the scanner captures the surrounding area. Software processing then uses the data to construct a 3D model. Previously the technology has been used to capture areas of cultural significance, such as the interior of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. As an added bonus, the Zebedee looks ridiculous when in use."
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Australian Police Deploy 3D Crime Scene Scanner

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  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @11:58AM (#46238425)

    I swear, sometimes it seems like electrical and computer engineers are on a mission to make everyone else look as socially inept and awkward as they are.

    I hope someone's recording the first time some guy is walking around with that Zebedee and happens to approach a group of attractive women... the jokes will write themselves!

    • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @12:45PM (#46238897)

      I swear, sometimes it seems like electrical and computer engineers are on a mission to make everyone else look as socially inept and awkward as they are.

      Almost. They could have gone one step further and named it the Flail of Minor Digitization.

    • For some reason, my first thought when I saw the guy slowly walking through the building swinging that thing around was "CyberPope"

    • Actually I know a little bit about this as I once interviewed for that project before they temporarily lost their funding. Traditional scanners need 2 or more LiDAR emitters on separate axes to build up a 3D scan. They also need to be physically mounted in a stable location which makes it hard to map buildings with staircases and hidden rooms. The purpose of the spring is to flop the scanner around so that a single LiDAR emitter can get a complete view of the environment as the holder walks around along
      • The purpose of the spring is to flop the scanner around so that a single LiDAR emitter can get a complete view of the environment as the holder walks around along all possible axes.

        I would have thought that the actual purpose of the spring is to act as a mechanical low pass filter for the inertial platform to give meaningful results, since what you're saying doesn't make much sense.

        • Nope. That is what makes this system interesting. I needs to be deliberately unstable.

          The spring makes it flop around in all directions from just the slightest movements by the operator.

  • First use: (Score:5, Funny)

    by The Archon V2.0 (782634) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @12:02PM (#46238473)
    Checking for any jack-in-the-box crime near the Magic Roundabout.
  • Because my arm will get tired.

  • by Kevoco (64263) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @12:05PM (#46238501)

    Because my, um....

    • by mjwx (966435)

      Because my, um....

      It matches the spinning rims we're putting on the new cop cars (well Aussie cops are getting WRX's these day, rexy's need spinners).

  • Cave mapping (Score:5, Interesting)

    by aardvarkjoe (156801) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @12:13PM (#46238581)

    My first thought was that this would be a really cool method of mapping caves. It turns out that this system has already been put to that use (http://www.lidarnews.com/content/view/9581/2/ [lidarnews.com]).

    I wonder how long it will be before this kind of thing is accessible to individuals.

    • The laser scanner looks like a Hokuyo UTM LX30 (or perhaps the USB version) and they retail for around 6k USD. The devs have to be congratulated for weaving in a reference to a 1970s UK TV show. I wonder what a sensor named Ermintrude or Dylan would have looked like.
  • in order to sell to organizations, the thing need to look more professional instead of cobbled together from random parts first, this thing need a rubberized fairing that can flex with the spring, and painted to suit intended users, yellow brown is good, black is better and then add options for helmet mount, you can put this on hardhats in construction site or police's helmet, or if the hardware can be rotated, the spring can probably be mounted on a belt
    • We tried a rubberized fairing once, but it drastically damped the spring's motion and made it take a lot more effort to keep the sensor moving.
    • by dbIII (701233)

      in order to sell to organizations

      You mean like the ones that have purchased them? You'll find something that refutes your "point" in the article.

      • by bobbagum (556152)
        I'm trying to make a joke, putting wrinkly rubber on it would make it look like a dick
        • by bobbagum (556152)
          or a dildo, imagine this, at a crime scene, the police pulls out this rubber dick thing and starts whacking the air
          • Imagine this, I was inside a power station boiler under repair, sharing the space with a dozen welders and scaffolders. I pulled out a hair dryer and turned it on. The laughter stopped after a minute or two.
            Technical stuff looks weird sometimes.
            I was there to see how much heat damage had occurred over time to a weld in a hot and stressed area. You can do that by grinding back the surface, polishing, acid etching for contrast, then looking at it under a microscope. Powerful microscopes belong on benches
        • by dbIII (701233)
          Sorry - I missed all the sex toy references before I replied.
  • can be used to map crime scenes, including in areas where there is no GPS reception.

    How much use would GPS be when you're mapping a crime scene? Wouldn't you be better off with a camera and a tape measure?

    • Differential GPS has an accuracy about 10cm. Simply taking the location info on any thing of note might have been good enough for mapping basic crime scenes. Clearly, this is better, but also, more expensive.

  • This is just like the orbs that mapped out the alien space ship in the the movie Prometheus. Just attach one of those suckers on some drones and go looking for some Sasquatch and stuff! Can't wait for the higher resolution versions that can spit out data in realtime.

    • by Ksevio (865461)
      Now if we can just invent floating orb technology, and stick some visible red lasers on the outside, we'll be in business for mapping alien spaceships!
  • So, how far are we from developing modules that can determine the crime coefficients of people, then guns that only shoot projected criminals?

  • The device looks great. Can't wait until they release a version for heterosexual males...

  • by Fencepost (107992) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @01:29PM (#46239239) Journal
    I'd also expect within the next year or two (or less, considering how cheap they are) that police will be documenting crime scenes with "gigapixel" panoramas. Gigapan sells a robotic mount for DSLRs for under $1000, and I'm sure they're not the only ones.
    • by EvilSS (557649)

      I'd also expect within the next year or two (or less, considering how cheap they are) that police will be documenting crime scenes with "gigapixel" panoramas. Gigapan sells a robotic mount for DSLRs for under $1000, and I'm sure they're not the only ones.

      I'm surprised this isn't already SOP for most crime scene units. The cost is low and it's not all that complicated to do. Hell realtors have been doing it (although at a lower resolution) for quite a while now to create virtual tours of homes.

  • by abies (607076) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @01:58PM (#46239449)

    and proudly introduce yourself as Inspector Gadget.

  • I don't know what the precision is on this, but I've seen LIDAR that was used in the civil engineering arena that was precise enough to pick up skid marks on the road. Pretty cool stuff.
  • Am I the only one who thinks Csiro's logo is extremely similar to Cisco's?!
    • by mjwx (966435)

      Am I the only one who thinks Csiro's logo is extremely similar to Cisco's?!

      Apart from the logo clearly being a map of Australia?

      I'd love to see Cisco try to sue them. That didn't work out too well for Apple when they tried to sue Woolworths in Australia.

      • Oh ya, I get the Australia pattern. I'm sure the Cisco logo "inspired" them.
        • by mjwx (966435)

          Oh ya, I get the Australia pattern. I'm sure the Cisco logo "inspired" them.

          Under Oz law, the logo is unique enough. We apply a very simple test, if a 7 year old can tell them apart, they aren't the same.

          CSIRO was founded in 1928 compared to Cisco's 1984. I'm not sure when the current logo was created (same with Cisco's current logo).

          Here are a few of CSIRO's older logo's, it could easily be argued that it's just an evolution of their older logo's:
          Logo 1 [csiro.au]
          Logo 2 [lc.com.au]

          Besides this, companies usually sue over trade dress, logo's, et al. when there is a risk of brand dilution or

What this country needs is a good five cent microcomputer.

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