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A forensic tool for police officers and crime scene investigators for finding and documenting relevant fingerprints at a crime scene

  • IMPRNT - A Forensic Tool for the Police and Crime Scene Investigators

  • The video illustrates the problem and explains the designed solution

    The video illustrates the problem and explains the designed solution

  • The current context of the fingerprinting process

  • The basic working of the concept and its benefits

  • Victims sharing their fingerprints at the crime scene

  • The technology clustered in the upgradable and replaceable lens module

What it does

Multiple fingerprints are present at a crime scene, most of which might be irrelevant. IMPRNT helps investigators pinpoint relevant fingerprints reducing the amount of evidence needed to be processed, leading to quicker investigation processing times.

Your inspiration

During the research, I found that traditional fingerprinting requires investigators to perform tedious tasks like dusting prints, mixing casting material multiple times, and carefully lifting prints without errors while juggling various analogue tools simultaneously. The lifted print is then attached to a documentation card that is filled manually with details about the case and the print. I believed that digital documentation could introduce a new workflow that would eliminate the dependency on all physical elements and the need to transport evidence from scene to lab, making the forensic investigation process relatively more sustainable.

How it works

01: Gather references - With an in-built fingerprint scanner, IMPRNT empowers victims to share their fingerprints at the crime scene voluntarily. The collected fingerprints are securely stored within the device and are deleted once the on-site examination is complete. 02: Detect the right prints - The investigators can then utilise IMPRNT’s multi-spectral illumination capabilities to examine latent fingerprints on objects and surfaces. The device performs a real-time comparison between the fingerprint under observation and those collected from the victims, which facilitates the investigators in efficiently pinpointing unidentified prints, which may be crucial to the investigation. 03: Document & share digitally - These relevant fingerprints can be digitally documented on the device on a 1:1 scale. Digital documentation enables contactless fingerprinting, thereby reducing the chances of errors while collecting prints resulting in high-quality forensic evidence.

Design process

The project started with field research in collaboration with the Swedish Police Authority and the Police Education Unit at my university. Hearing the on-site experiences of investigators highlighted the fact that the victims of the crime scene also need careful consideration in the design process for it to be genuinely Human-centric. Sharing fingerprints is a sensitive topic, especially at a crime scene where the victims might assume that they are the ones being incriminated. I made many foam models, which I tested with the general public to understand the semantics of such a device to develop a non-threatening form. Parallelly I hosted multiple feedback sessions with the crime scene investigation department at the local police station to understand the practical aspects of the design, such as human factors, preferred size and orientation of components for product packaging, and user behavior to determine additional features. One of the design decisions from this process was integrating the fingerprint scanner with the screen, which made the print collection process transparent, as both victims and investigators could see the screen simultaneously. To convey the concept story effectively, I made a prototype with UV lights which can highlight fingerprints on surfaces like glass.

How it is different

As IMPRNT adds to on-site analysis prowess, the evidence volume which has to be processed by forensic labs reduces greatly as irrelevant forms of evidence like double-documentations and evidence belonging to the victims are already weeded out. It saves time for on-site personnel and accelerates the investigation process involving forensic centre analysts, leading to faster processing times for law enforcement systems. IMPRNT proves to be a time-saving and resource-optimising solution which is lucrative to law enforcement agencies around the globe. IMPRNT is designed with upgradeability in mind to adapt to changing technologies. The lens module, which hosts the multispectral imaging system, has a provisional space for upgrades. With time, the entire lens module, holding the high-tech components, can be replaced with advancing technology. These factors ensure the longevity and relevancy of the product, making it a logical investment for law enforcement agencies.

Future plans

IMPRNT was shared at this year's Europol Innovation Lab conference in Stockholm by my program director. Following this and the news of the recent Core77 award wins have generated interest in individuals curious about the project's current status. Therefore I am assured about the value IMPRNT would add to forensics, and I am determined to take this concept forward, explore its full potential and make it a reality. Traditional processes can be reimagined by adapting to advancing technologies to get maximum and unexplored benefits. The prize from the James Dyson Award would help me find collaborators to start developing a functional prototype.


Student Winner in Emerging Technologies category in the Core77 Design Awards 2023, Student Notable in Commercial Equipment category in the Core77 Design Awards 2023, Student Finalist in IDEA 2023 (Results tbd)

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