Virtual Reality Projected to Assist in Live Crime Scene Rendering
Recently, a lot of buzz has emerged around virtual reality and the VR industry having penetrated the world of gaming and even live musical concerts. There is even talk about it being used for good in treating certain medical and mental health conditions. At present, the talk is about VR invading the criminal justice system. If all goes well, the technology can bring about groundbreaking results in solving past unsolved crimes and ensuring fewer future ones—all thanks to better live crime scene rendering via VR.
Live Crime Scene Rendering Through Virtual Reality
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Researchers at Staffordshire University in England recently announced that they are presently at work on a project that aimed to apply the idea of virtual reality into the solving of crimes. After they received approximately $200,000 in research grants from the European Commission, they went to work harnessing the power of VR technology in developing new, better ways to render evidence from crime scenes for the benefit of jurors, lawyers, prosecutors, and judges so they can properly analyze the evidence and make well-informed decisions and judgments.
Professor Caroline Sturdy Stolls of the Staffordshire University of England who also serves as the program’s lead scientist has said in a statement to the media, “A number of novel, digital non-invasive methods have the potential to…permit access to difficult and/or dangerous environments, create a more accurate record of buried or concealed evidence and provide a more effective means of presenting evidence in court.”
Among many techniques tested to determine how the technology would best benefit the purpose, VR motion headsets previously created by the gaming industry were one of the applied methods. The research team has also said that they were combining their resources with the gaming industry’s own in order to guarantee at least decently positive results.
In an interview with the BBC, the Staffordshire Police Department’s head of justice has shown his department’s support behind the innovative project, asserting that the technology could be the exact push they needed to “bring to life” complicated crime scenes that could be impossible or difficult to do in real life.
However, like other similar projects, the research has been met with plenty of skepticism. One particular critic is Jason Host, a barrister associated with Steven Solicitors. While being interviewed by the BBC, Host said of the program, “We don’t have a very good track record with bringing technology into courtrooms.”
He was referring to a previous instance when virtual reality had been attempted ten years ago as a method of presenting courtroom evidence. The attempt was due to research carried out by William and Maar Law School’s Center for Legal and Court Technology. Professor Fredrick I. Lederer, the director of the center, revealed back then that there’s a nausea potential for the said technology, saying that “I wouldn’t want to lose a quarter of my jury because they’re not trying to throw up.”
It still remains to be seen whether the researchers will succeed in their efforts, but it cannot be denied that we have only just skimmed the surface of its potential when it comes to real-life applications.
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