Why Give a Dead Man a Body Scan?

Why Give a Dead Man a Body Scan?

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To prove that a suspect assaulted the victim by biting her arm, investigators first created a digitized 3-D model of the wound using photogrammetric measurements (high-resolution photos taken from multiple angles) and a 3-D surface scan [1]. Then they made a cast of the suspect's teeth, and digitized that as well [2]. Aided by the computer, investigators fit teeth to wound [3]. The result: a perfect match.Virtopsy Research Group, University of Bern/Switzerland

Standard Practice

Michael Thali prepares for a conventional autopsy at the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Bern. The results will be compared with a virtual autopsy done earlier using scanners instead of scalpels.John B. Carnett

Bullet Proof

Mathematician Beat Kneubuehl with a block of glycerin that shows a bullet's path and, at right, another embedded with fake bones ready to be shot at. By firing a bullet into glycerin soap, Kneubuehl can measure the force with which it strikes, and can also study the cavity created in its wake--which in a human body would instantly collapse.ArmaSuisse, Center for Military and Civilian Systems, Science & Technology Division, MoD Switzerland

Fractured Skull

The 3-D visualizations generated from virtual autopsies enable forensic scientists to "walk through" a dead person's body, from its surface to its skeleton. That helps them to make sense of bone and soft-tissue injuries--in this case, fractures caused by a falling tree.Virtopsy Research Group, University of Bern/Switzerland

Lined Up

Richard Dirnhofer demonstrates how projected lines and button markers are used to make a precise optical scan of the body's surface.John B. Carnett

Postmortem Exam

Technician Gabriel von Allmen slides a body into a computed tomography (CT) scanner at the University Medical Center in Bern, Switzerland.John B. Carnett

by John B. Carnett

Zurich traffic cops Marcel Braun and Jorg Arnold create 3-D computer models of vehicles involved in accidents. The models can be matched with virtual autopsies to show how injuries were caused.John B. Carnett

Standard Practice

John B. Carnett

Bullet Proof

John B. Carnett