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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Forensics: Identifying The Wearer Of A Pair Of Shoes

Scientists Create New Technology That Can ID the Wearer of a Shoe

Kate Horowitz | February 22, 2016

For all the advancements in forensic technology over the past two decades, some areas continue to lag. Current shoeprint analysis techniques are still relatively old-fashioned and provide little information. Now, two British scientists have devised a new method that uses patterns of wear on the shoe’s sole to identify the wearer. They described their technique in the journal Scientific Reports last week.
Today, most shoeprint analysis can provide police with just two types of information: the type of shoe and its size. But the marks left behind by a suspect fleeing the scene or a missing person have much more information to offer. The trick is accessing it.


<more at; related articles: (Watch your step! A frustrated total internal reflection approach to forensic footwear imaging. J.A. Needham and J.S. Sharp. Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 21290 (2016) doi:10.1038/srep21290. [Abstract: Forensic image retrieval and processing are vital tools in the fight against crime e.g. during fingerprint capture. However, despite recent advances in machine vision technology and image processing techniques (and contrary to the claims of popular fiction) forensic image retrieval is still widely being performed using outdated practices involving inkpads and paper. Ongoing changes in government policy, increasing crime rates and the reduction of forensic service budgets increasingly require that evidence be gathered and processed more rapidly and efficiently. A consequence of this is that new, low-cost imaging technologies are required to simultaneously increase the quality and throughput of the processing of evidence. This is particularly true in the burgeoning field of forensic footwear analysis, where images of shoe prints are being used to link individuals to crime scenes. Here we describe one such approach based upon frustrated total internal reflection imaging that can be used to acquire images of regions where shoes contact rigid surfaces.]) and (The discrimination of two-dimensional military boot impressions based on wear patterns. T.L. Fruchtenicht, W.P. Herzig, and R.D. Blackledge. Science & Justice. April 2002Volume 42, Issue 2, Pages 97–104. DOI: [Abstract: A study was undertaken to determine the discrimination value of wear patterns in the comparison of two-dimensional footwear impressions with questioned shoes. In order to isolate the influence
on wear caused by individual differences in weight, bone structure, and walking styles, only right foot, size 10, military combat boots worn by US Marines were studied. A commercial footwear impression kit featuring a chemically infused pad and sensitized paper was used for boot impression acquisition. Feature measurement was accomplished with an image analysis system to acquire the two-dimensional impressions as files, and then using a commercial marker-measurement system. A total of 127 different right boot impressions were acquired, scanned, measured, and measurement values entered into the database. The power of the developed metrics to discriminate between outsole impression patterns was evaluated in a blind challenge experiment. The system analyst was provided with 26 coded outsole impression sheets as "unknowns", of these, 22 had been previously entered in the database and four were outside samples. No false matches were made, and of all the non-matching images in only one instance did all of its measurements fall within the 0.10 cm match criteria selected by the system operator.])>

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