Forensic Science takes on crime(part two)
The following is a selection of the fascinating crime-fighting science funded by the UK's Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) written for a publicity brochure for EPSRC by David Bradley
The developments reported are likely to emerge in coming years in the world of forensic science.The colour of money
New materials that change colour reversibly when exposed to ultraviolet
radiation could be used as specialist security markers. The researchers at
Southampton University will develop a range of materials with tailored
properties including specific colour changes, such as white to blue or
yellow to red, as well as compounds that can be coloured and bleached within
selected periods of time. The printable materials will also be made
resistant to chemicals, heat and light so that they cannot be damaged or
The project's comprehensive chemical synthesis programme will target a range of materials with the required structural and compositional characteristics. A full testing programme will also be used to determine the suitability of the materials for use in various areas of security marking such as counterfeited goods.
Novel Photochromic Materials for Security Marking: Mark Weller, Southampton
Fast proteins beat crime
Emerging technologies such as protein arrays, competitive displacement
assays (CDA), and peptidomics could be used in forensic sciences, crime
detection, and biometrics say Royal Holloway researchers. The technology
will allow fast and accurate analysis of samples containing proteins from
crime scenes to be analysed in parallel; even partially degraded samples
The research will also be used to develop self-contained tests for biometric applications for the identification of individuals and tissue samples as a substitute for DNA-based analysis when genetic material is not available. The same technology could also lead to more accurate "time-of-death" estimates in suspected murder cases.
Fast protein profiling technologies: Mikhail Soloviev, Royal Holloway
According to researchers at the University of Surrey: prevention is
better than cure, so they are researching a new approach to face recognition
that provides and in-depth means of crime prevention and detection.
Biometrics uses human characteristics to identify individuals and could be used to prevent crimes where an unauthorised person tries to gain access to valuable resources, hack into a computer, or attempt to cross international borders illegally.
The Surrey team hopes to improve face recognition by using the three-dimensional characteristics of the face as well as 2D image data to avoid the notorious problems with flat identification systems as well as the anticipate problems of 3D imaging alone. By combining 2D and 3D imaging data the researchers working with guidance from their industrial collaborators representing the biometric industry, OmniPerception Ltd, a system integrator, IBM, and the end-user, PITO, will present a new solid approach to biometrics.
Prevention is Better than Cure: Crime Prevention & Detection using "in-depth" Face Recognition - 2D+3D=ID: Josef Kittler, Surrey
Also, in Issue 75, November 2004
Combinatorial chemistry on the Grid
Scientists with contractual obligations
The growing problem of biopiracy
Science tackles crime (part one)
In Issue 74, October 2004
Accidents will happen
Predicting climate change
Issue 73, September 2004
Green silicon production
P2P for scientists
Women in science
Academic poaching of researchers
Permanent implantable contact lenses
Profile of ETH Zurich
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