Cops Are Trying Use 3D Printed Fingerprints to Unlock a Dead Man's Phone

Requesting Phone manufacturers to unlock the phones for further investigation during a crime has finally come to an end. A new technology would soon help cops in cracking criminal cases. The high-end tech idea is to create a 3D print of dead man’s fingerprints to unlock his phone. Authorities seek help from Michigan State University computer science and engineering professor, Anil Jain in an ongoing murder case.

Mr Anil is now working on creating a replicate of murder victim’s fingerprints using scans which the police had on file from the earlier arrest. In a mail to Blue Sky Jain stated that “We are still working on it, and the phone has not yet been successfully unlocked.” As it is an ongoing case, Jain and his PhD student Sunpreet Arora couldn’t share many details about the case. Police firmly believe that the deceased victim’s phone might provide clues to reach killer.

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Arora explained that he had created a replica of all ten fingers of the victim as they do not know which finger he had used for his smartphone. “We think it’s going to be the thumb or index finger—that’s what most people use—but we have all ten,” said Arora. Jain and Arora have few more weeks to work on the 3D prints. As the sensor enabled smartphones use capacitive touch, it requires conductive materials like human skin to conduct electricity. So, the professors are covering the mock fingers with a thin layer of metallic particles to unlock the phone.

According to Dim Elissa, CEO and founder of VisMed-3D, professors would succeed if they get a right combination of hardware and conductive materials. And besides that Elissa said the most important is the quality of the original fingerprint scan. “If you have a high-quality scan, then you get a really high-quality potential output, assuming your hardware can handle that level of resolution,” stated Elissa.

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“The Fifth Amendment protects against self-incrimination. Here, the fingerprints are of the deceased victim, not the murder suspect. Obviously, the victim is not at risk of incrimination,” Bryan Choi, a researcher of security and law said by email. The question now raised is whether authorities can unlock the living suspects’ phones using their fingerprints. The legal law is still unclear in this matter, but further, it would be clear.


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