The newest use case for Mixed Reality and Microsoft HoloLens has arrived, this time aimed at helping investigate disasters and major crime scenes. The latest HoloLens application, Forensic XR, takes a scene right out of Iron Man 3’s virtual crime scene reconstruction and turns what looked like a make-believe scene in the movie with Tony Starks and Jarvis into a real-life application. By using a 3D scanner to scan the crime scene, Forensic XR creates a virtual reconstruction.
Describing themselves as “next-gen crime fighting,” Forensic XR allows users to experience the power of realistic crime scene simulations. The application is currently in use to train students in the crime investigation department at Murdoch University in Perth, Australia, making these students the first in the world to experience this low-risk training. Through this virtual environment, students are transported to a crime scene and taught everything they need to know, including exploratory scenarios where they are tasked to find drugs or weapons, as well as technical aspects such as scene processing, sample collection, and report writing. The training covers various scenarios they might encounter on the job, including murder scenes and drug-related incidents, set in different environments both outdoors and indoors.
One significant advantage of Mixed Reality and HoloLens training is that students get hands-on experience and learn by doing, which surpasses traditional instructor-led training or self-paced reading from manuals. The interactive nature of the training makes the experience enjoyable for students and enhances their retention of knowledge and skills. Another benefit is that Mixed Reality and 3D holograms provide students with an x-ray-like view, stimulating their curiosity and encouraging creative thinking to uncover drugs or weapons hidden within unique hiding spots. Regular exposure to an x-ray view teaches students to check everyday items as they cannot see inside them as they can with mixed reality.
Currently, the application of Forensic XR is primarily for classroom training purposes. However, its potential is vast and could revolutionize how disasters and major crime scenes are investigated in the future. Think of it as similar to what we saw in Iron Man, where years after a crime, investigators will be able to revisit the crime scene as if they were going back to the past. Thanks to powerful computing and spatial awareness, key data, such as the blast radius or the victim’s location at the time of the crime, can be extracted. The possibilities are limitless and are poised to transform the way we approach crime investigations.