09.03.2019 | Original Article | Ausgabe 2/2019
VirtoScan-on-Rails – an automated 3D imaging system for fast post-mortem whole-body surface documentation at autopsy tables
Forensic Science, Medicine and Pathology
- Sören Kottner, Sarah Schaerli, Martin Fürst, Wolfgang Ptacek, Michael Thali, Dominic Gascho
Two-dimensional photographic documentation is a substantial part of post-mortem examinations for legal investigations. Additional three-dimensional surface documentation has been shown to assist in the visualization of findings and contribute to the reconstruction of the sequence of events. However, 2D photo documentation and, especially, 3D surface documentation, are time-consuming procedures that require specially trained personnel. In this study a 3D imaging system, called VirtoScan-on-Rails, was developed to automate and facilitate 3D surface documentation for photo documentation in autopsy suites. The imaging system was built to quickly acquire photogrammetric image sets of whole bodies during different stages of external and internal examinations. VirtoScan-on-Rails was set up in the autopsy suite of the Zurich Institute of Forensic Medicine at the University of Zurich (Zurich, Switzerland). The imaging system is based on a movable frame that carries a multi-camera array. Data quality and the applicability of the system were analyzed and evaluated within two test series. Up to 200 overlapping photographic images were acquired at consecutive image-capturing positions over a distance of approximately 2000 mm. The image-capturing process took 1 min and 23 s to acquire a set of 200 images for one side of the body. During test series one and two, 53 photogrammetric image sets taken from 31 forensic cases were successfully reconstructed. VirtoScan-on-Rails is an automated, fast and easy-to-use 3D imaging setup for autopsy suits. It facilitates documenting bodies during different stages of forensic examinations and allows standardizing the procedure of photo documentation.