Monday, June 30, 2008

Image Forensics: New blog - Forensic Photoshop

There is a "new" (i.e. started this year) forensic blog that goes into some of the nitty gritty details of image forensics. Forensic Photoshop is penned by Jim Hoerricks, who is an experienced practitioner in the field. I've found his posts to be both very interesting and current. Enjoy!

Image Forensics: Augmenting video restoration & enhancement with a forensic artist

The math, science, and technology used in video forensic filtering and forensic video analysis can work minor, and sometimes major, miracles. However, it is not "the be all and end all", as the saying goes. This article in Forensic Magazine uses an actual case to show where a professional forensic artist was able to use knowledge of human physiology and such to generate a full frontal facial drawing of a suspect from a single frame of a security camera video taken at from the standard elevated position. Let's hear it for the liberal art majors!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Computer Audio: Pro Tools now available for Mac OS-X Leopard

Pro Tools for Leopard is out. I don't use it myself, but I know several audio forensic professionals who do and they swear by it.

Acoustics: Acoustic cloaking

First there came visual cloaking of tanks, et al. Now, there is a design idea for an acoustic cloak - I should have seen it coming (pun intended)!

Image Recognition: Military uses pattern recognition to detect bomb planting activity

I wanted to call your attention to an article by the Strategy Page on how the US military in Iraq is using pattern recognition on imagery to detect IED (Improvised Explosive Device) emplacement activities.

A very simple implementation of this technique is to take a picture on Day 1, then another picture from the same location and in the same direction on Day 2. Next subtract the two images from each other and see what is left over. All the things that did not change between the two images will disappear and only those things that changed will be left! In this case, what will be see on the "difference image" might be some disturbed gravel, tire tracks off the side of the road (assuming it is a road-side bomb emplacement) or, if the military guys are really lucky, what will be left is a bunch of guys standing around with shovels and a bomb as they work to put it in place. Neat (and helpful)!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Physics: Physics for Future Presidents

I freely admit that I am a geek. However, strange though it seems to me, I am not a gadget freak. That being said, even I was won over to podcasting. A friend got me excited about listening to university courses on-line via podcasts (thanks, Amy!). An iPod Nano and iTunes were my ticket to liberation from over-the-air radio during my travels.

With that small confession and short history out of the way, I got the urge today to share one of my favorite podcast courses with you - Physics for Future Presidents, by Richard Muller. His explanation of the issues and science around global warming alone is worth the cost of an MP3 player. You don't have to use iTunes to download it, but it is convenient if you do. Enjoy!

Admin: Teaching

As mentioned on a previous posting, I am teaching for two weeks - hence the light posting during the last week and, most likely, the rest of this one. I am, however, still moderating comments, so keep them coming!
Best Regards,

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Audio Forensics: Off to a conference

The Audio Engineering Society is holding its 33rd International conference later this week (June 5-7). The topic is Audio Forensics - Theory and Practice. I'll be there, so if you are able to go, please look me up.

Forensics: New technique recovers fingerprints from bullet casings after firing

Forensic scientists at the University of Leicester (UK) and Northamptonshire Police (UK) have announced a way to recover fingerprints from fired shell casings. The technique involves the use of an electric charge to attract an electrically conductive powder to the minute amount of corrosion caused by handling the shell casing. The act of firing the bullet actually improves the ability of the technique to recover the print. For more information, see this article from Science Daily.

PS. On re-reading my post, I noticed that I did not supply any answer to the obvious question of "so what?". The reason this technique is particularly interesting is that it potentially provides additional forensic evidence that could identify participants in gun crimes. Imagine being able to re-open a "cold case", for instance a drive-by shooting, using nothing more than a spent shell casing (and a fingerprint database, of course). Hopefully, there will not be any hidden "gotchas" in the details and this technique will be able to fulfill its initial promise.