Software Turns Low-Res Photos into 3D Renders
ForensicaGPS 3D mesh exposed showing accuracy in facial geometry.
Sketch artists, with their steady hands and knack for capturing facial features, are useful to investigators tracking down a crime suspect or a missing person. But a new forensic tool may soon steal the illustrators’ limelight at the police department.
ForensicaGPS is a digital face recognition tool that can render 2D images into detailed 3D visualizations. It’s technology that’s going to make it a lot easier for law enforcement to track down and identify criminals or other persons of interest.
“The application enables professionals to quickly, efficiently and accurately compare, analyze and ultimately verify digital facial images from grainy surveillance photos or videos where a suspect’s face is often shielded or distorted,” developer Animetrics told InnovationNewsDaily. “Up to five images of each subject can be compared to the other subjects’ facial images.”
3D facial recognition bests its 2D counterpart by capturing distinguishing features, changes in lighting, tattoos and makeup, and other particulars that wouldn’t be as noticeable or as accurately documented in flat drawings.
This type of technology isn’t exactly new, however. 3D facial recognition technology made great strides in the 2000s, though the technology still isn’t commonplace in many police stations. Animetrics’ new product, meanwhile, uses global coordination systems to provide multiple images of a given subject — even if the subject isn’t staring “straight on” in the 2D image. Working similarly to a GPS, these coordination systems contain a built-in mapping feature that uses coordinates to plot distinctive features on a subject’s face, such as scars, moles or tattoos. Once converted to 3D, the new image can be viewed from any angle.
Animetrics also told INO that the ForensicaGPS “improves resolution” in comparison to the source 2D image — that is, “the original poor facial image can be transformed into a face that is recognizable.”The company also said “the application allows users to cross-compare” potential suspects. Bone structure, distance measurements between facial features and other tricky traits are accurately documented after the 3D rendering, a feat that traditional forensic sketch artists can’t always accomplish.
The 11-employee company has been applying imaging technology to facial biometrics for about eight years. Animetrics says that, besides law enforcement, other potential ForensicaGPS users include the military, homeland security and intelligence agencies. The product is currently available to law enforcement organizations and departments.