Forensic science is the study of discipline involving scientific and technological techniques for recognising, identifying, collecting, preserving, analysing and interpreting evidence for criminal investigation and law enforcement. By utilising the latest technological and scientific methods, forensic investigators can use and process digital images to help them solve crimes. Digital image processing is the sub-field of forensic science which involves the usage of digital cameras and technologically enhanced computers to enhance, copy, analyse, display and store digital images and videos. This article will discuss the various fields in forensic science in which the method of digital image processing is widely used.
One of the significant fields in which digital image processing is commonly used is fingerprint analysis. It includes using image processing software and cameras to capture and compare the fingerprints. It is beneficial in cases of blurred fingerprints to enhance and visualise them. Digital image processing allows forensic investigators to accurately compare fingerprints and determine whether they are from exact origin.
Crime Scene Documentation
Another field in forensic science is in which digital image processing is used in crime scene documentation. Image processing software and digital cameras capture and preserve the images of crime scenes and the various evidence present at the crime scene. It helps in the accuracy of the images captured at the crime scene, and it also helps the crime scene investigators to refer to those images in future whenever they want.
Facial recognition is another sub-disciplinary of forensic science in which digital image processing is used. It allows image processing software and digital cameras to capture and compare facial images. This will eventually lead forensic experts to accurately compare the facial images and identify the identity of the suspects and even victims.
Digital image processing is beneficial in the field of forensic photography as it enables the enhancement and visualisation of the images captured in the range of overall, mid-range and close-up. Though the initial images’ lightning and resolution could have been better captured, image processing software can quickly solve these problems.
Forensic Video Analysis
Forensic video analysis is another field in which digital image processing is beneficial. Forensic investigators use this technique to capture the video, enhance the resolution of the video recording, visualise the hidden segments, and analyse the elements of the video. In addition, digital image processing can be used to reconstruct images from video recordings, making it easier for investigators to identify people or objects in the recording and also make them understand the order of the events that took place in the video recording.
Criminalistics is one of the significant fields of forensic science that deals with the scientific analysis of the physical evidence found at the crime scene. Digital image processing is a crucial tool in criminalistics as it enables the enhancement of images of evidence, such as bloodstains, fingerprints, etc., to make them easier to analyse.
Questioned Document Examination
Questioned document examination, also called forensic document examination, involves analysing a document’s handwriting, signature and other elements to establish the origin or authenticity of a document.
Digital image processing enables the enhancement of images of documents, such as handwriting samples, signature samples, etc, to make them easier to analyse.
It is the branch of forensic science which deals with the study of human remains. Digital image processing enables enhancing images of bones or other human remains to make them easier for analysis. Usually, the images of the bones can be compared to determine age, sex, ancestry, stature, etc.
Forensic chemistry is the branch of forensic science that analyses chemical substances found at the crime scene. Digital image processing can be used in forensic chemistry to compare images of chemicals to determine their identity, chemical properties and chemical composition.
It is the branch of forensic science that involves the study of firearms and ammunition found at the crime scene. The properties of bullets and cartridge cases are analysed and compared in forensic ballistics using digital image processing, which is also used to identify the specific firearm used in a crime. Investigators can match the characteristics of the evidence with a particular weapon and ammunition by comparing images of the ballistic evidence with images of known weapons and ammunition, which provides essential information for the investigation. Moreover, photos of bullets and cartridge cases can be enhanced via digital image processing, making it simpler to spot distinctive markings that can be used to connect a firearm to a particular crime.
Network forensics is the branch of forensic science which involves the study of the data packets that have been communicated via computer networks. Digital image processing is used in the field of network forensics as it enables the reconstruction of images which have been sent or received via the network.
The information on the computer user’s activities, such as website and email history with images, can be identified from these reconstructed images.
Mobile Device Forensics
Mobile device forensics is the branch of forensic science which involves the study of data stored on a mobile device such as a mobile phone, tablet, etc. Digital image processing is used in the field of mobile device forensics as it enables the reconstruction of images which have been stored on a mobile device. From these reconstructed images, the information on the mobile device’s user’s activities, such as images of people, places, or items that may have been taken or sent from the device, can be identified. In addition, it helps investigators to understand the order of the events that occurred.
Computer forensics is the branch of forensic science that studies data stored on a computer or network. Digital image processing is used in the field of computer forensics as it enables the reconstruction of images which have been stored on a computer. The information on the computer user’s activities, such as email attachments or images downloaded from the internet and website history, can be identified from these reconstructed images.
Digital forensics is the branch of forensic science that studies digital devices and digital evidence at the crime scene. Digital imaging leads to the exact copy of the digital evidence so that the changes made during the investigation to the digital copy do not affect the original copy. Digital image processing enables capturing and storing images of evidence, such as documents, photographs, videographs or audio recordings. This can be used to help forensic investigators to identify the evidence and analyse its contents. Digital imaging can also be used for reconstruction of damaged or deleted evidence. By utilising digital image processing, investigators can recover data that may have otherwise been lost, allowing them to better understand what happened.
Also Read: MCQs on Digital Forensics with Answer and Explanation
Digital image processing is an integral part of forensic science. It is used in many different sub-fields of forensic science, such as fingerprint analysis, crime scene documentation, facial recognition, forensic photography, forensic video analysis, criminalistics, questioned document examination, forensic anthropology, forensic chemistry, forensic ballistics, network forensics, mobile device forensics, computer forensics, digital forensics, etc. By utilising the latest technology and scientific techniques, forensic investigators can use digital images to help them accurately solve crimes and other criminal activities.
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This Article written by Pirathibban. K. He is currently pursuing his bachelor’s in Forensic Science from Kalasalingam Academy of Research and Education, Anand Nagar, Krishnankovil, India.