It’s been almost 130 years since Arthur Conan Doyle introduced the world to the British detective, Sherlock Holmes. Today, one of modern times’ leading detectives is partnering with CSI Technology Group to bring criminal investigations into the future.
Dr. Henry Lee, internationally renowned forensic scientist and founder of the Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science at the University of New Haven (UNH), has signed a cooperative agreement with CSI Technology Group and Taipei Technical Institute to establish a joint Research and Development (R&D) Center. One of the first goals of the Center will be to develop a robotic detective they will name Rolmes, a moniker paying tribute to that pipe smoking gumshoe and meaning “Robotic Holmes.”
A veteran of over 8000 cases, including the OJ Simpson case and the Phil Spector case, Dr. Lee joined UNH’s Forensic Science program nearly four decades ago and helped build it into one of the top forensic studies programs in the United States. For the past thirty-five years, law enforcement officials and students of criminal justice from around the globe have come to UNH to study forensics at the Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science.
Dr. Lee has also been a consultant with CSI Technology Group since we first started developing applications to support criminal investigations and prosecution, almost twenty years ago. He has also served as a member of CSI’s Board of Directors.Taipei Technical Institute is one of Taiwan’s oldest technological universities, and was ranked first among all the other technological universities in the country. The university specializes in three fields: technology, design and management.
The strengths of these three partners imbue the joint R&D center with a solid core of competency and expertise in the fields of technology, public safety and forensic science. The joint R&D center will focus on developing advanced software technology to secure a bright future for generations of smart city and smart government initiatives.
The first step in Rolmes’ development was to construct its standard operating procedures (S.O.P.), based on the experience and expertise of Dr. Lee and his team of forensic scientists. This will set the foundation for the design that will support crime scene investigators with fully integrated software and hardware to facilitate the investigation process. Conducting an investigation with the assistance of Rolmes and the embedded S.O.P.’s will eliminate problems resulting from inadmissible evidence or the failure to gather evidence, often incurred with manual evidence collection process without a good step by step guide. Rolmes will support a shorter training cycle for junior investigators, thus allowing experienced investigators to allocate more resources to evidence analysis in the laboratory.
Rolmes will synchronize the collected data with the cloud database, including photos, videos, and all of the environmental parameters collected from the crime scene. This will be done in real time, via 4G mobile telecommunication technology. The uploaded data/information in the cloud is sharable and available to authorized individuals. Access to the data is controlled through strict, yet configurable, permission settings built into Rolmes. Rolmes will construct a virtual crime scene, according to the collected environmental parameters, which forensic experts and senior detectives in other places can remotely access. They will then be able to give instructions and advice to the on-site investigators. In addition, the Rolmes Expert System (ES) powered by big data analysis will result in more precise and accurate directions for cracking a case more quickly. Rolmes will change the way detectives and investigators work.
Dr. Lee reveals that the secret of Rolmes is that its kernel algorithm is based on Lee’s decades of knowledge and experience. This includes using the key factors of the over 8,000 major criminal cases in over 46 countries that he has assisted in, as the inference rules in the database. “Investigating a crime with Rolmes will be like working alongside Henry Lee”, says Dr. Lee about his robotic investigator. “Ask Rolmes any question, just like you would ask me if I was there with you.” Lee hopes to see Rolmes and the intelligent technologies continue to evolve, allowing his expertise and experiences to pass from generation to generation.“Robots will never replace human beings, but they will enhance our decision making and investigative capabilities,” Lee explains. While Dr. Lee and CSI Technology Group are on the cutting edge of crime scene technology with the development of Rolmes, someday the use of a robotic detective might be quite elementary, don’t you think?