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Australian forensic fingerprint detector trialled by global crime agencies

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Australian forensic fingerprint detector trialled by global crime agencies   article image
International crime fighting organisations have trialled a fingerprint detection device developed by the University of Technology’s Centre for Forensic Science. Forensic science equipment company Foster + Freeman has manufactured the TFD-2 after receiving the intellectual property rights from UTS commercialisation partner Uniquest Pty Ltd. The TFD-2, a version of the Thermal Fingerprint Developer used in the trials, is an automatic, high-throughput device that can develop fingerprints on large volumes of documents. This cuts down search times and manpower requirements for the investigation of white-collar crimes like fraud and embezzlement that involve the examination of large quantities of paper. Existing methods of detecting fingerprints are labour-intensive, time-consuming and use toxic chemicals to stain the fingerprints to increase their visibility. The TFD-2 uses heat to develop the fingerprint in a matter of seconds without destroying sensitive evidence. Foster + Freeman connected the TFD-2 with markets around the world, showcasing it in China, Hong Kong, Malaysia and the US and to its distributor network across 80 countries. UniQuest managing director, David Henderson said partnering with a strategic industry supplier like Foster + Freeman has connected the researcher’s ideas with the new technology’s target markets. "Trials and demonstrations with end-users represent important milestones for an innovation’s commercial development, shortening the time gap between a ‘what if’ moment in the research lab and a workable solution helping to solve a globally significant problem." Henderson believes the combination of design and manufacturing capabilities of a key industry partner with the intellect of Australian academic researchers is "a win-win outcome for all stakeholders, and in this case, especially for the fight against all kinds of crime." Although the TFD-2 can currently only be used on flat surfaces, researchers behind the device plan to adapt the concept into portable models to be used at crime scenes, and even adapt the technology to retrieve prints from the wooden tops of undetonated improvised explosive devices, which could contribute to anti-terrorism investigations.

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