Virtual Trespass: Not in My Backyard

Picture1By Yonah Reback

Who could have predicted that last summer’s biggest fad would be the reemergence of a Japanese video game whose cultural relevance peaked fifteen years ago? If you had known that Pokémon Go would immediately sweep the nation’s interest upon its release in July 2016, call me—I want your stock tips for this summer. For the rest of us mortals, the game was a surprise hit, quickly drawing the attention of not just kids and gamers, but anyone tuned in to pop culture.  Continue reading

Virtual reality Crime Scenes: Demonstrative of Facts or Destructive of Rights?

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By CaroLea Casas

In trial advocacy classes, law students are often taught to use evidence to tell a story. Adept trial advocates can weave together the threads of a story so that jurors have a vivid sense of the circumstances – vivid enough to make them feel almost as if they were there. This ability is especially important for prosecutors and defense attorneys in the criminal realm, as these lawyers face a higher burden of proof than their civil counterparts.

Technological advances may soon take some of that burden off of the advocate’s shoulders. A recently funded Staffordshire University project led by Dr. Caroline Sturdy Colls is using virtual reality technology to digitally recreate crime scenes. The project seeks to provide tools for prosecutors to show the crime scene in virtual reality to jurors via headsets. Additionally, Durham University PhD researcher Mehzeb Chowdhury has developed MABMAT, a relatively low-cost autonomous robotic imaging system capable of scanning entire crime scenes. Field-testing has been arranged with various law enforcement agencies. Both projects aim to improve on inconsistencies in evidence collection. Continue reading