Database of Open-Access 3D Ballistics Research

Now available: a database of open-access 3D ballistics research. “To seed the database with data, [Xiaoyu Alan] Zheng went to forensics and law enforcement conferences asking agencies to test-fire every 9-mm firearm in their reference collection—9 mm being the caliber most commonly used in the commission of crimes. After completing the test fires, labs sent the bullets and cartridge cases to Zheng at NIST, along with data on the gun that fired it. At the lab, technicians scanned these samples using a microscope that produces a high-resolution, 3-D topographic surface map—a virtual model of the physical object itself. These surface maps produce more detailed comparison data than the two-dimensional images that are traditionally used to match bullets. For this reason, the field of forensic firearms identification is starting to make the transition to 3-D.”

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