Hyperspectral imaging improves characterization of untreated fingerprints

ChemImage Corp. (Pittsburgh, PA) recently reported results from a hyperspectral imaging (HSI) study that displayed a 42.8% overall improvement in characterization of latent fingerprints in comparison to previous HSI image processing methods.

Improved data collection and image processing techniques were used to examine aged and recently deposited latent fingerprints on various surfaces that typically prove to be more difficult for forensic scientists, including white lined paper, white printer paper, a white business card, black tape and aluminum foil. The result yielded fingerprint images with enhanced detail between the ridge and the substrate without the use of chemical agents.

“While the chemical development of fingerprints will always play an important role in forensic analyses, there are certain instances, such as prints deposited on valuable or old surfaces or those requiring DNA extraction, where it can be detrimental to use such methods,” said John Belechak, Chief Operating Officer and Forensic Science Director at ChemImage. “We are encouraged by these findings because they bring our innovative hyperspectral imaging technology one step closer to being a validated alternative.”

HSI takes conventional methods to the next level by adding a spectroscopic basis for sample analysis, enabling the identification and enhancement of contrast between chemically different materials.

Complete results from this study were published in the November/December issue of the Journal of Forensic Identification, a scientific publication of the International Association of Identification, in an article titled “Improved Methods of Visible Hyperspectral Imaging Provide Enhanced Visualization of Untreated Latent Fingerprints.”

In addition to latent fingerprints, ChemImage is also researching the application of HSI for bloodstain analysis and questioned document examination (including security documents).

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Posted by Lee Mather

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