Quantitative approach to forensic fingerprint comparison studied

November 30, 2009,

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) has awarded researchers at Virginia Tech a two-year, $854,907 grant to develop a quantitative approach to measuring and establishing a standard for "sufficiency" of information available in friction ridge (fingerprint) patterns.

Led by Randall Murch, associate director, Research Program Development, Research Division, National Capital Region, the team includes Associate Professor Lynn Abbott and Professor and Dean's Faculty Fellow Michael Hsiao, Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; Professor Ed Fox, Department of Computer Science, Virginia Tech College of Engineering; and Professor Bruce Budowle, University of North Texas, Health Sciences Center, Center for Investigative Genetics.

Murch explained that machine-aided systems routinely digitize and automatically compare finger and palm prints that contain a sufficient amount and quality of information based on algorithms for that purpose. "However," he said, "digitized prints of poor quality require the intervention of human experts to perform comparisons and identifications. Latent fingerprints, such as those left at a crime scene which are often partial or distorted, are analyzed and compared by human experts whose expertise and judgment is based on their training and experience."

By convention, Murch said, there is no quantitative standard used by the worldwide fingerprint community to determine the quantity and quality of information in an image or for the number of points of comparison required for identification.

Murch was a member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) committee which issued a report in February 2009 entitled Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward, calling upon the forensic science community to improve and strengthen the scientific basis of analyses, interpretations, and conclusions in a number of fields, including pattern evidence such as friction ridge analysis.

"This research effort to develop a standard is very important to the forensic community," said Murch. "It addresses the NAS recommendation and should contribute significantly to advancing science in other forensic pattern recognition and comparison fields, as well."

Source: Virginia Tech (news : web)

Explore further: New Fingerprint Breakthrough by Forensic Scientists

Related Stories

New Fingerprint Breakthrough by Forensic Scientists

June 2, 2008

Forensic scientists at the University of Leicester, working with Northamptonshire Police, have announced a major breakthrough in crime detection which could lead to hundreds of cold cases being reopened.

Hidden fingerprints revealed

March 15, 2007

Hidden fingerprints can be now be revealed quickly and reliably thanks to two developments in nanotechnology. The news is reported in the latest edition of the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Chemical Communications.

Recommended for you

China auto show highlights industry's electric ambitions

April 22, 2018

The biggest global auto show of the year showcases China's ambitions to become a leader in electric cars and the industry's multibillion-dollar scramble to roll out models that appeal to price-conscious but demanding Chinese ...

Robot designed for faster, safer uranium plant pipe cleanup

April 21, 2018

Ohio crews cleaning up a massive former Cold War-era uranium enrichment plant in Ohio plan this summer to deploy a high-tech helper: an autonomous, radiation-measuring robot that will roll through miles of large overhead ...

Virtually modelling the human brain in a computer

April 19, 2018

Neurons that remain active even after the triggering stimulus has been silenced form the basis of short-term memory. The brain uses rhythmically active neurons to combine larger groups of neurons into functional units. Until ...

'Poker face' stripped away by new-age tech

April 14, 2018

Dolby Laboratories chief scientist Poppy Crum tells of a fast-coming time when technology will see right through people no matter how hard they try to hide their feelings.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.