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VR Forensic Crime Scene Simulator

Video produced by BCIT media program.

The Burlington County Institute of Technology (BCIT) has two campuses located in Medford, NJ and Westampton, NJ which both feature law and public safety departments with forensic science laboratories. Each campus laboratory utilized a standalone room to physically simulate a crime scene with mannequins and various pieces of fake evidence. The forensic science instructors informed us of their disappointment with how unauthentic the crime scene simulation was. They mentioned specifically that the mannequins did not have realistic wounds and that the floor, walls and ceiling did not simulate enough real-world distractions like a forensic investigator would encounter in the field. Envision took strong note of these problems and proposed a VR solution to eliminate such.

Envision developed ten ultra-realistic environments ranging from urban to suburban to rural in theme both day and night. We implemented real audio to ensure real-life distraction. Our urban environments, for example, contain background noises like automotive traffic and horns. We implemented realistic virtual murder victims with grotesque stab wounds. Our intention was to shock and desensitize the forensic science trainee so that they are better prepared for encountering the real thing in the field. The BCIT forensic science instructors have greatly appreciated this. We developed a user-friendly menu interface with a “bag of forensic science tools” for the student user to utilize in each VR crime scene. Once a student user selects their crime scene environment, they must take proper-angle photos of the scene, victim, and wounds with a VR camera. They must collect all pieces of evidence and store them in proper evidence containers. For example, wet evidence must be stored in a paper bag vs. dry evidence that must be stored in a plastic bag. We created official weapons containers for the student user to place knives and guns into. We implemented haptic feedback into the VR controllers to make tracing bodies with chalk and unrolling crime scene tape more realistic. This functionality adds a significant layer of realistic depth to our crime scenes.

Once the student user collects all evidence and obtains all necessary photos they leave the VR crime scene and enter the VR forensic crime lab. In the lab they process all evidence, view the photos they captured on an emulated VR computer, utilize ultraviolet flashlights to view fingerprints and biological fluid, and ultimately send evidence out to appropriate additional labs for processing. When the student exits the forensic crime lab their entire experience including photos taken are viewable by the instructor for post-exercise review, discussion and grading. The following app footage videos represent the VR (left or top) and mobile app (iOS & Android – right or bottom) solutions we developed for BCIT’s Law and Public Safety program, specifically for their forensic crime investigation courses. We feel this level of immersive and ultra-realistic simulation significantly benefits training in the forensic science space.

To learn more about the about Envision’s customizable Forensic Edusim™ platform, please visit this link.

Active Shooter Response Simulator

Unfortunately, active shooter scenarios have become more common in the US in recent times. We utilized mixed reality in the sense of combining Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) into a single collaborative experience to better prepare law enforcement officers for what to expect in such a scenario. The VR user experiences the active shooter scenario in first person while AR users experience it from a third person perspective in a low-latency synchronization. The AR user can communicate with the VR user via audio and informative text. For example, the AR user can drop a pin on a 3D rendering of the school where they believe the active shooter is. The AR user can also drop pins where the last known distress call was. The VR user sees these pins on their in-VR 3D rendering of the school and is automatically guided via inertial VR navigation to the location of the shooter. Upon ultimately encountering the shooter the VR user is placed in a stop, shoot or don’t shoot situation.  The following app footage video represents our developed active shooter response trainer solution which benefits training exercises in law enforcement at multiple levels (local, state, and federal).

VR Memory Room

A large part of forensic science and crime scene investigation involves strong memory. Envision developed a VR experience called Memory Room which places students or users in a room with randomized objects. The exercise forces users to memorize as much information as possible (example: specific time on clock, circled date on calendar, amount of change in the droor, names on a notepad, etc.). There are over 600 different random scenarios which instructors can observe with the student. After the experience, instructors can quiz the student user on what they saw in the scene. All data and results are logged and sent to the instructor for evaluation. The following app footage video represents our VR Memory Room which we feel is beneficial to anyone entering the field of forensic crime scene investigation. We developed this for BCIT.

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