Michigan police want to use 3D-printed fingers to unlock a murder victim's phone

By midian182 · 6 replies
Jul 22, 2016
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  1. As 3D printing continues to find uses in the fields of medicine and science, it appears that the process could also have applications in law enforcement. A report by Fusion states that police in Michigan want to create a 3D model of a murder victim’s fingers to unlock his smartphone.

    Police approached Michigan University Department of Computer Science & Engineering professor Anil Jain to find out if his team could manufacture a replica of the dead man’s fingers so they could access the device and look for clues as to who may have committed the crime.

    The victim in the case had previously been arrested, so his fingerprint scans were in the police database. These were sent to Jain and his PhD student, Sunpreet Arora, who used them to 3D print all ten of the dead man’s digits – just to make sure they created the one he used to lock/unlock the device.

    Just pushing the plastic fingers against the scanner wouldn’t work as they’re not conductive enough, so Aurora is coating the prints with a thin layer of metallic particles to get around this issue.

    It’s still not certain that the technique will work and the project will take several more weeks to complete, which poses a big problem: most modern smartphones require a PIN to be entered if they haven’t been used for a certain amount of hours – eight, in the case of an iPhone – or if they've been powered off and on again.

    The worry with this technique is that it could set a precedent that results in authorities being able to access the devices of anyone who has submitted to fingerprint scans.

    Precise details of the crime and the device in question are unknown as the investigation is ongoing. It has been pointed out that the victim's body was too decayed for his fingerprint to be applied directly to the phone.

    Check out the video clip below to see Jain exposing fingerprint spoof attacks.

    Permalink to story.

  2. tonylukac

    tonylukac TS Evangelist Posts: 1,374   +69

    3d printing? Some cops, like in california, have 20 million people so that's 200 million fingerprints on paper. If you truthfully went thru all of them it would take you 23 years if you looked at 1 a second for one person. A lie.
  3. Greg S

    Greg S TechSpot Staff Posts: 1,072   +428

    Sounds like they already know who's finger they need though. That leaves a fair chance of maybe four fingers working. Both thumbs and index fingers.
    Reehahs and jauffins like this.
  4. fimbles

    fimbles TS Evangelist Posts: 1,185   +208

    Nah.. Its much faster than that.

    Innovatrics matching algorithm performs extremely well in identification tasks due to extraordinary matching speed that can achieve more than 720 million fingerprint matches per second on Intel® Xeon® Processor E5-2699 v4 Product Family . Furthermore, identification process is fully scalable
    Reehahs likes this.
  5. G0DofPaiN

    G0DofPaiN TS Booster Posts: 58   +35

    My conclusion from this is that you have to cut and burn your fingers off before getting killed, if you want your personal data to be safe.
  6. tonylukac

    tonylukac TS Evangelist Posts: 1,374   +69

    I'm talking about most departments who have fingerprints on paper. You know how long it takes an image to load, and there could never be 720 million matches per second. What's the processor speed? And when they towed my car away in sunnyvale, ca itself, they didn't have even a scanner in the police car to tell them the license plates weren't expired when they said they were.
  7. Darth Shiv

    Darth Shiv TS Evangelist Posts: 1,811   +472

    Omg it's like this technique was never considered when fingerprint scanners were put in phones.

    Seriously tho, this was completely brain dead obvious this was going to happen and finger prints used for locking phones "securely" is completely farcical. Using a strong password is always going to be superior.

    How long until they can lift a print from a coke can and program up a print on a 3d printer in seconds? It's almost here. Finger prints are basically publicly posted everywhere.

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