17-47 Segment 2: Developing Forensic Technology: New solutions for tracking and convicting criminals


The technology used to catch criminals is constantly being invented and then reinvented. From fingerprints to DNA, advancements in technology have allowed authorities to more accurately and efficiently locate and apprehend criminals. Now, what may be the largest addition to the tool belt of the criminal justice system yet is the technology we all carry in our pockets daily.

Cellphones have long been used to find and convict criminals, mainly through call logs and cell tower triangulation, but mobile devices now serve as de facto personal GPS trackers with extreme accuracy. Oxygen Forensics Inc. creates software that allows investigators to extract and interpret data from practically any digital device. Lee Reiber, COO for the company, says there now exists more mobile devices than people on this Earth, and the uses for our mobile data are infinite.

Even if a suspect refuses to talk, their mobile data can serve as evidence of location, communication history, and proximity to others. It also holds records of all documents and information that many of us wrongly assume is private. Pressing delete doesn’t mean information can’t be recovered and, even in cases where no mobile phone is involved, Reiber says any ‘smart’ device that collects data (and they all do) can be utilized.

What else can the data being collected around us be used for? Jerry Ropelato is the CEO of White Clouds, a large scale 3D printing technology company. He says virtually any set of information can be transformed to a physical object using 3D printing.

Whether it’s used to create medical materials or to build a exact model of an object, the possibilities are endless. Recently, White Clouds aided a defense attorney by replicating a residential crime scene to better convey their side of the story to the jury. No matter the use of these technologies, one thing is clear. This is only the beginning phase of the possible applications and only time will tell the true impact.    


  • Lee Reiber, COO for Oxygen Forensics Inc.
  • Jerry Ropelato, CEO of White Clouds

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17-01 Segment 1: Solving crimes with new technology

Forensic investigator working at a crime scene


With new gadgets and programs being invented every day, the technologies used in solving crimes are changing constantly. We reached out to leading experts on the subject, including a programmer, a 3D printing specialist, and best-selling crime author Patricia Cornwell. Through these interviews, we got the inside scoop on how mobile devices, 3D models, and even “smart home” devices like a refrigerator can be used to crunch the data, solve crimes, and present cases in court.

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