The aim of our project is to give an overview of various current technologies used
for capturing and analyzing data for the purpose of criminal investigation.
A Brief Background of Forensic Science
Forensic science is the application of science to help solve legal questions. There are a variety of specialized
practices under the general heading "forensic science," including, forensic pathology, criminalistics, forensic
odontology, and forensic toxicology.
The first documented application of medical knowledge as a legal tool to solve crimes appeared in China
in 1248. A book entitled "Hsi Duan Yu" (The Washing Away of Wrongs) depicted various physical differences
between the bodies of people who died from natural or unnatural causes. In the West, the development of
modern chemistry around the end of the 18th century led to the first appearances of medical and scientific
experts in the courtroom. The world's first forensic laboratory appeared in France in 1910, and the first crime
laboratory in the U.S. was established in 1930 by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. The FBI lab
was set up in 1932, and the first academic criminalistics program in the U.S. was established in 1937
at the University of California.
As shown in this timeline, throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, advances in a wide variety of scientific and
technological areas have had a direct effect on the evolution of forensic science.
Amirall, Jose R. and Kenneth G. Furton. The Evolution, Practice and Future of the Use of
Science in the Administration of Justice. Standardization News. Vol. 23, Number 4. April 1995.
Miami-Dade County Website.