Report Date

May 2020


Impressions of shoe and tire tracks are common types of evidence found at a crime scene that be used to evidentially link a suspect to a crime or generate important investigative leads in a case. However, analysis of these footwear outsole and tire tread designs is challenging due to the variations in product design, impression quality, and surrounding environment of the impressions. Proper collection of the evidence is often limited by the crime scene investigator’s skill level, the quality of the equipment, and the amount of time available to accurately photograph and cast the impressions. Dr. Song Zhang at Purdue University is developing a 3D imaging system for footwear and tire impressions to overcome these challenges. This system is based on an optical 3D scanning system that uses a binary defocusing technique and an auto-exposure control method to capture highly detailed images.

“Purdue’s 3D scanner promises to be a game changer as it allows the fast collection of the 3D detail of impressions with minimal training.”

—James Wolfe, Alaska State Crime Laboratory, retired

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