In medico-legal investigations involving unidentified skeletal remains, forensic anthropologists commonly assist law enforcement and medical examiners in their analysis and identification. The traditional documentation techniques employed by the forensic anthropologist during their analysis include notes, photographs, measurements and radiographic images. However, relevant visual information of the skeleton can be lacking in morphological details in 2D images. By creating a 3D representation of individual bones using a laser-scanner, it would be possible to overcome this limitation. Now that laser scanners have become increasingly affordable, this technology should be incorporated in the documentation methodologies of forensic anthropology laboratories. Unfortunately, this equipment is rarely used in forensic anthropology casework. The goal of this project is to investigate the possible visualization applications that can be created from digitized surface models of bone for use in medico-legal investigations. This research will be achieved in two phases. First, examples of human bone as well as replicas of bone will be scanned using a NextEngineâ„¢ laser scanner. In conjunction with this will be the exploration and documentation of protocols for scanning different bone types and processing the scan data for creating a 3D model. The second phase will investigate how the resulting 3D model can be used in lieu of the actual remains to achieve improved documentation methodologies through the use of several commercial computer graphics programs. The results demonstrate that an array of visual applications can be easily created from a 3D file of bone, including virtual curation, measurement, illustration and the virtual reconstruction of fragmented bone. Based on the findings of this project, the implementation of laser scanning technology is recommended for forensic anthropology labs to enhance documentation, analysis and presentation of human bone.
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Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Sciences
Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences;Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
Filiault, Matthew, "Digitization protocols and applications for laser scanning human bone in forensic anthropology" (2012). HIM 1990-2015. 1354.