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CSAFE Center Wide Webinar – Guest Speaker, Ryan Lilien, Cadre Labs

October 7, 2019 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

CSAFE invites researchers, collaborators, and members of the broader forensics and statistics communities to participate in the  Center Wide Webinar on Monday, October 7 at 11:00 am CST. Guest speaker Ryan Lilien from Cadre Labs will present  Development of a Novel 3D-Topography Imaging and Analysis System for Firearm Forensics”. 

Registration: Please email Harlie Jud (harliej@iastate.edu) to register. The registration link will be emailed to you directly.

Presentation Description:

The talk will describe our work developing an accurate, fast, and economic 3D imaging and analysis system for firearm forensics. As portrayed in the movies, ammunition fired through a single firearm will pick up small microscopic imperfections (i.e., toolmarks) unique to that firearm. Microscopic examination of these marks allows firearm examiners to assess the likelihood of common origin (e.g., linking a cartridge case found at a crime scene to a test fire from a suspect’s firearm). 3D Virtual Comparison Microscopy (VCM) refers to the analysis of digitally measured 3D surface topographies viewed on a computer workstation. VCM includes both examiner-based comparison and algorithm-based quantitative scoring. This presentation will provide an overview of the development and validation work for 3D VCM at Cadre. Our system has been validated and is now in use at the main FBI firearm and toolmark laboratory in Quantico, Virginia.

In the first part of the presentation I will give a high-level introduction to firearm forensics and describe our photometric stereo-based 3D scanning system. I will then discuss our validation work including the 2018 Virtual Comparison Microscopy Error Rate Study (VCMERS) which included over 100 participants. In the final part of the presentation I will describe our work developing scoring algorithms for automatic determination of same source. Overall, our work supports the hypothesis that 3D VCM is at least as good as if not better than traditional comparison microscopy. The application of novel 3D imaging and analysis methods to the field of firearm forensics has the potential to greatly impact the criminal justice system.

The work is supported in part by research grants from the US National Institute of Justice and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Bio: Ryan Lilien, MD/PhD.  Ryan’s research expertise focuses on the use of advanced scientific computing and statistical models to solve interdisciplinary research problems. Ryan earned an MD/PhD from Dartmouth Medical School and Dartmouth’s Department of Computer Science. Ryan was faculty at the University of Toronto cross-appointed between Computer Science and the Faculty of Medicine. He has received research funding from the Gates Foundation, NIJ, NIST, and Canada’s National Sciences and Engineering Research Council. He is now located in Chicago and serves as Cadre Research’s head of research and development while maintaining an adjunct appointment at the University of Toronto. Ryan leads development of the TopMatch-3D High-Capacity system (a 3D imaging and analysis system for firearm forensics and virtual microscopy). He’s presented his group’s steady progress on developing and validating the system at recent national and regional AFTE meetings. Ryan is also currently a member of NIST’s OSAC (Organization of Scientific Area Committees) Subcommittee on Firearms & Toolmarks.


October 7, 2019
11:00 am - 12:00 pm


171 Durham Center


CSAFE Administrative Specialist Harlie Jud