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Author Topic: Advanced Ballistics Analysis System  (Read 17148 times)

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Offline Ashely Northcutt

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Advanced Ballistics Analysis System
« on: December 11, 2009, 04:46:52 PM »

OTTAWA — An Ottawa software company has teamed up with a former Royal Canadian Mounted Police lab worker to create a cutting-edge system for analyzing bullet casings that promises to blow away anything currently available.

The "advanced ballistics analysis system," dubbed "Alias" for commercial purposes, aims to cut the time police spend analyzing ballistics while delivering far more precise results by producing 3D digital models of the casings. These can be stored digitized and accessed anywhere in the world.

When a bullet is fired, scratches and marks are made on the casing. These scratches occur in a pattern that is unique to each gun. Alias can capture scratches and markings on a bullet casing that are smaller then a speck of dust. The machine can scan up to six bullet casings at a time in less than eight minutes.

Ballistic analysis has remained largely unchanged since it was created in 1929, said Mike Barrett, a former RCMP civilian lab worker in Sackville, N.B., and chief executive of Pyramidal Technologies Ltd., the company behind Alias.

The last major update to the way police analyze ballistics occurred in 1990, when high-resolution photographs were introduced.

Barrett said that while the system used by police forces today works, it's not great and with more than two decades since its last major refresh, it's time to bring new technology into the equation.

"It's good technology for the 1990s, but it's still 1990s technology," he said.

"It occurred to me a couple years ago that we could do better than this."

Barrett hammered out a team of Canadian owners and procured the scanning technology. He needed only the software to tie it all together.

A little over a year ago he came to Ottawa's bitHeads with the idea of using the laser for Alias. The Ottawa software maker had a proven record of taking complex ideas and turning them into real-world products, and has created software to help run payment systems for Canada Post, as well as medical imaging devices and telephones.

CEO Scott Simpson said the challenge in building next-generation ballistic testing software was one that bitHeads just couldn't pass up.

"At the end of the day, 95 per cent of software is just software," said Simpson. "We're into our 15th year now and we have done stuff from medical, telecom, automotive, we are really all over the map. So, for us it's really no different then anything else."

The Ottawa firm designed the graphic interface for the service as well as all of the software that allows investigators to conduct scans of bullets, analyze those scans and compare those to others in a database.

Barrett said he is trying to sell the Alias system to police forces. The system starts at $350,000, says Barrett who claims competing systems sell for around $1 million. He said a hand-held scanner, capable of taking 3D scans of bullet casings at the scene of a crime, is under development and could be released next year.

He also said that the more police forces that use the Alias system the better the system will become because the databases of 3D casing scans can be networked together.

It would, for instance, allow police to see if a weapon fired in Ottawa has been fired in Toronto or other cities around the world.

He was in Ottawa Thursday meeting with the RCMP to show off the system and gauge interest in the new technology.

© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen
Ashely Northcutt
Independent Consultant

Offline Gaylan Warren

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Re: Advanced Ballistics Analysis System
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2009, 11:16:14 AM »
For additional information on ALIAS visit their web site


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