A Project in the Liquid narrative group
IC-CRIME is a revolutionary system that allows collaborative investigations of three dimensional representations of crime scenes. Crime scene investigators and other authorized personnel can collaborate with each other in viewing, exploring, and annotating these virtual crime scene models at any time from any web browser, anywhere in the world.
Within IC-CRIME, a group of investigators collaborate in a virtual meeting space, which appears in the form of a virtual investigative laboratory. From a given laboratory, multiple different crime scenes can be simultaneously accessed by an unlimited number of other investigators or forensic experts who no longer need to be physically co-located in order to collaborate on tasks related to the physical space of a crime scene. The screen capture below shows an IC-CRIME virtual laboratory with three concurrent users, each of whom is represented by a different 3D avatar.
The system uses the Unity3d computer game engine to allow full navigation of the virtual laboratory and virtual crime scenes. More detail on how IC-CRIME leverages the extensive capabilities of Unity3d can be found in the Tech article in the menu bar. Also described in that article is the 3rdTech scanning technology used in the current implementation of IC-CRIME.
Using IC-CRIME, investigators are able to revisit a crime scene long after a crime scene unit has completed data collection and the scene has been released by law enforcement. The system facilitates virtual walkthroughs, and allows individual users to place virtual evidence flags into the virtual crime scene to annotate with the scene with external data sources and comments, for later review by all interested investigators.
Annotations are classified according to the type of external data provided, including photographs, fingerprints, hair and fiber data, ballistics reports, blood spatter, etc. As shown in this screen capture, IC-CRIME can place a flag indicating a possible murder weapon, in this case a candlestick. The green flag stick and red flag visible behind the supplied text remains in the virtual scene. As other investigators encounter evidence flags, they can click to bring up the notes and evidence associated with the item at that location in the virtual crime scene.
The IC-CRIME system is rapidly evolving, as the system is still in the research phase. We plan to continue to extend the system to support enhanced manipulation of the visual and audio elements to leverage fully the evolution of their underlying technologies. In the next phase of our research we are building user-friendly tools that will IC-CRIME assist users in the authoring of what-if scenarios based on particular virtual crime scenes. Based on these scenarios, the system will automatically create cinematics (video sequences that play out within the virtual crime scene). These what-if scenarios could aid in the collaboration between the investigative team. The discussion of scenarios could be used to aid witnesses in explaining their observations to detectives. Demonstration of hypotheses to juries could more readily convey key points about the crime scene and the crime itself.
Our research focuses on balancing the expressive power of the system with the need to simplify the work of novice users unfamiliar with 3D simulation technologies. We plan to continue to extend the system to support enhanced manipulation of the visual and audio elements to leverage fully the evolution of their underlying technologies. Our goal is for IC-CRIME to serve as a common platform that integrates a range of media into a powerful collaborative workspace.
The IC-CRIME draws team members from many disciplines, departments and institutions. The team members are listed below.
- David Hinks (PI), Cone Mills Professor of Textile Chemistry, College of Textiles, NC State University.
- Tim Buie (Senior Personnel), Assistant Professor, Department of Graphic and Industrial Design, College of Design, NC State University.
- Keith Beck (Senior Personnel), Professor, Textile Engineering, Chemistry and Science, College of Textiles, NC State University
- Anne Massey (Senior Personnel),Associate Vice Provost, Faculty & Academic Affairs, Dean’s Research Professor and Professor of Information Systems, Indiana University
- Mitzi Montoya (Co-PI), Executive Dean of the College of Technology and Innovation, Arizona State University
- R. Michael Young (Co-PI), Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science, College of Engineering, NC State University.
- Jim Thomas, Postdoctoral Research Scholar, Digital Games Research Center, NC State University.
- Julio Bahamon (Ph.D. Student), Department of Computer Science, College of Engineering, NC State University
- Matt Bell (Undergradaute Student), Department of Graphic and Industrial Design, College of Design, NC State University
- Samantha Blake (Ph.D. Student), Fiber and Polymer Science and Chemistry, College of Textiles, NC State University
- Kara Cassell (Ph.D. Student), Department of Computer Science, College of Engineering, NC State University
- Rachel Lloyd (Undergraduate Student), Department of Computer Science, College of Engineering, NC State University
- Jon Muscarello (Undergraduate Student), Cognitive Science Program, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, NC State University
- Tyler Thompson (M.S. Student), Department of Graphic and Industrial Design, College of Design, NC State University
- Rogelio Cardona-Rivera (Ph.D. Student), Department of Computer Science, College of Engineering, NC State University
NC Program for Forensic Sciences
Special Agent (retired) Gary Knight, Forensic Photographer
Dr. Bill Oliver, Forensic Archaeology
Dr. Ann Ross, Forensic Anthropology
Dr. Wes Watson, Forensic Entomology
NC State University, Kenan Institute for Engineering, Technology and Science
Ruben Carbonnel, Director
Raj Narayan, Associate Director
NC State University, Department of Chemistry
Dr. Dave Muddiman, Professor of Mass Spectrometry
NC State University, College of Engineering, Analytical Instrumentation Facility
Dr. Dieter Griffis, Director
Dr. Chuanzhen Zhou, Post Doctoral Research Associate
Mr. Roberto Garcia, Research Associate
NC State University, Office of Research and Innovation
Dr. Liana Fryer, Senior Research Analyst
North Carolina Bureau of Investigation
Special Agent Jen Remy
Wake City-County Bureau of Investigation
Sam Pennica, Director
Troy Hamlin, Deputy Director, Crime Laboratory
Andy Parker, Deputy Director, Crime Scene Investigations
North Carolina Justice Academy
Tanya Chapman, Instructor Coordinator
Michael Glenn, Crime Scene Instructor
City of Fayetteville Police Department
Detective Jeff Locklear
Detective Jason Sondergaard
3rd Tech, Inc., Durham, NC.
Nick England, President
Doug Schiff, Vice President
To be listed.
IC-CRIME video or image files
IC-CRIME in the news
To be added.
Support for the IC-CRIME project is provided by the US National Science Foundation’s Cyber-Enabled Discovery and Innovation program through award number 0941421. The award runs from 09/01/2009 through 08/31/2012 and provides $1.4M for the work we’re performing.
Additional support for the project has been provided by the NCSU College of Engineering and Department of Computer Science in the form of undergraduate research assistant positions.