WMG’s forensic research partnership with West Midlands Police was honoured at the TCT Awards, this week, scooping top spot in the Inspex Application Award category.
The Awards recognise the innovators, technologies and collaborators behind the leading examples of Additive Manufacturing, 3D Printing, Design and Engineering across the globe.
Professor Mark Williams, Leader of the Centre for imaging, Metrology, and Additive Technology (CiMAT) at WMG explained: “We have helped to provide expert witness testimony in over 100 homicide cases by 13 different police forces across the UK. Cases include strangulation, stabbing, blunt force trauma and bone fractures.
“In April we opened a new WMG Forensic Centre for Digital Scanning and 3D printing – a research hub supporting Homicide Investigation funded by West Midlands Police to scan injuries and produce 3D print outs for use in expert testimonies.
“The scans are 1000 times more detailed than hospital scans, and can detect microscopic injuries which could otherwise be missed by conventional medical CT scanners. 3D renderings are then produced of the injuries, and their age can be identified too. The renderings are used in court to during trials to provide visual context and support the pathologist’s testimony.”
WMG’s heritage forensics was also recognised at the Awards, with Professor Williams and his team being Highly Commended for their work with Oxford University Museum of Natural History.
In this project the use of 3D scanning has rewritten natural history for a number of rare objects within Oxford University Museum of Natural History’s collection including unearthing surprising evidence that the Oxford Dodo was shot in the neck and back of the head with a shotgun. The findings cast doubt on the popular theory that the Oxford Dodo is the remains of a bird kept alive in a townhouse in 17th-century London.
Find out more about CiMAT here.
- The new 3D MRI computing technique calculates strain in heart muscles showing which muscles are not functioning enough without damaging other organs - researchers at WMG, University of Warwick have found
- The new technique is less stressful for the patient
3D MRI computing can measure strain in the heart using image registration method. Traditional method involves giving the patient a dose of gadolinium which can affect the kidney, researchers at WMG, University of Warwick have found.
MRIs are used to diagnose cardiac disease such as cardiomyopathy, heart attacks, irregular heartbeats and other heart disease.
Traditionally when a patient goes for an MRI scan they are given a dose of gadolinium, which reacts the magnetic field of the scanner to produce an image of the protons in the metal realigning with the magnetic field. The faster the protons realign, the brighter the image features and can show where the dead muscles are in the heart and what the diagnosis is.
The dose of gadolinium can have detrimental effects to other parts of the body, particularly the risk of kidney failure.
A new 3D MRI computing technique developed by scientists in WMG at the University of Warwick, published today, 28th August, in the Journal Scientific Reports titled ‘Hierarchical Template Matching for 3D Myocardial Tracking and Cardiac Strain Estimation’ focuses on Hierarchical Template Matching (HTM) technique. Which involves:
- A numerically stable technique of LV myocardial tracking
- A 3D extension of local weighted mean function to transform MRI pixels
- A 3D extension of Hierarchical Template Matching model for myocardial tracking problems
Therefore meaning there is no need for gadolinium reducing the risk of damage to other organs.
Professor Mark Williams, from WMG at the University of Warwick comments:
“Using 3D MRI computing technique we can see in more depth what is happening to the heart, more precisely to each heart muscles, and diagnose any issues such as remodelling of heart that causes heart failure. The new method avoids the risk of damaging the kidney opposite to what traditional methods do by using gadolinium.”
Jayendra Bhalodiya, who conducted the research from WMG, University of Warwick adds:
“This new MRI technique also takes away stress from the patient, as during an MRI the patient must be very still in a very enclosed environment meaning some people suffer from claustrophobia and have to stop the scan, often when they do this they have to administer another dose of the damaging gadolinium and start again. This technique doesn’t require a dosage of anything, as it tracks the heart naturally.”
One of Europe’s largest science festivals is coming to town between September 10th and 13th.
With a schedule comprising more than 100 free events, activities and performances, the British Science Festival will “transform the region into a celebration of science and culture”.
The festival will feature talks from a selection of WMG experts, including Erik Kampert - Senior Research Fellow, Dave Greenwood – Professor of Advanced Propulsion Systems, Mark Williams – Professor of Metrology and Alan Chalmers – Professor of Visualisation.
Held in partnership with the University of Warwick, the programme highlights local strength in digital technologies, smart cities and the future of energy and healthcare.
There’s a special emphasis on the fun, thought-provoking, and societal aspects of science to show how it’s not just confined to laboratories, but something that’s all around us.
Plus, there will be a special filming of The Sky at Night: Question Time with Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock and Professor Chris Lintott.
Other highlights include interactive experiences like a live 3-D psychedelic show and festival carpool in a driverless pod, discussions on how ‘gaming becomes gambling’, how AI could revolutionise cancer treatment, and how to tackle food poverty with food writer Jack Monroe.
Not to mention, a mud kitchen and tea-blending for adults and a takeover of Coventry’s FarGo Village with comedy, artistic workshops and an escape room.
Engineers at WMG at the University of Warwick have developed and installed a new, robotic measuring system, capable of accurately and repeatedly measuring large objects on the production line, such as car body-shells, in a fraction of the time traditionally taken to measure them on co-ordinate measuring machines (CMMs).
The system, installed in WMG’s International Manufacturing Centre, comprises of a large long reach robotic arm - supplied by Kuka - mounted on a 5m track, and is designed to accept a range of different, non-contact measurement technologies.
The Nikon Metrology’s Laser Radar, which is a long stand-off laser measurement system, is the first of such technologies to be trialled. It is capable of accuracies better than a hundredth of a millimetre, over distances of several meters.
The two technologies combined, offer a fast and accurate solution for automotive quality control, with particular relevance to car body-shell measurement, whether in a metrology lab or, as is becoming increasingly desirable, on the actual production line itself.
“The scale and flexibility of our new robotic measurement system, housed in the same metrology lab as our benchmark twin column CMM, gives us a unique capability within a UK university. Not only can we trial state of the art measurement technologies in a real-world application, but we can also verify system performance against what is currently the gold-standard (for automotive measurement), fully ISO calibrated CMM. This means that we can work with our industry research partners to both integrate technologies and trial solutions, in a controlled and independent environment, and ultimately, help them select and deploy the right measurement solutions for their businesses.”
Lead Engineer Ercihan Kiraci, responsible for the delivery of the project, explains:
“With increasing levels of automation in high value manufacturing, vehicle producers are focusing significant effort on collection and use of data for process optimisation. WMG offers a range of relevant measurement technologies, 10+ years of experience in the field, and a strong focus on Industry 4.0 methodologies, making it an ideal testbed for new in-process inspection solutions. The set-up at WMG provides a unique opportunity for collaboration between OEMs, technology providers and researchers, to address manufacturing quality challenges.”
The speed, accuracy and flexibility of the new system, combined, have the potential to bring metrology lab measurement capabilities to the shop floor without slowing down or disrupting the production line, along with real-time quality data aiding rapid decision making and issue resolution. In the future, this could be taken a step further, with the measurement data being fed directly back into the manufacturing process, which would in turn, self-correct and optimise without the need for human intervention. But this will only be possible with the speed of measurement that the new system (and others like it) will deliver.
Whilst the self-optimising production line may still be a few years away, in the short term car manufacturers (and those in other industry sectors, such as aerospace) can expect to significantly reduce the number of out-of-spec vehicles needing re-work at the end of the production line, or making their way to the customer, only to be recalled at great expense.
For further information please contact:
Media Relations Manager – Science
University of Warwick
Tel: +44 (0) 2476 574 255 or +44 (0) 7920 531 221
Congratulations to the brilliant Lucy Inman and Professor Mark Williams who both won a prestigious University Award last night.
Lucy, who is Teaching and Learning Officer in the WMG Full-time Master's office won the top prize in the Service Excellence category.
The judges said: “Lucy leads by example, bringing a calm and thoughtful approach to problems, working to resolve things to ensure the best possible outcome for students, and also putting measures in place to ensure it doesn’t repeat, or to mitigate the impact where matters
are likely to repeat."
Professor Mark Williams, who heads up the Metrology area at WMG, received the Research Contribution Award. “Through a passion for knowledge and a nose for a great mystery, Mark is inspiring hundreds of people and answering age-old questions. He is a credit to Warwick and a
perfect example of what can be achieved when people leave the confines of their main
area of research."
WMG’s involvement in the University’s Family Day was also recognised at the Awards, with the team scooping highly commended in the Community Contribution Award category.
The Warwick University Awards recognise outstanding individuals and teams from across the University. After the award ceremony staff enjoyed a special summer party with a festival theme including live music from Scouting for Girls.
WMG at the University of Warwick has secured investment from West Midlands Police for the WMG Forensic Centre for Digital Scanning and 3D printing – a research hub supporting Homicide Investigation, where they can scan and reproduce 3D prints of injuries to bones to help in court testimonies.
The new WMG Forensic Centre for Digital Scanning and 3D printing – a research hub supporting Homicide Investigation has secured investment from West Midlands police to scan injuries and produce 3D print outs for use in expert testimonies.
The scans are 1000 times more detailed than hospital scans, and can detect microscopic injuries which could otherwise be missed by conventional medical CT scanners. 3D renderings are then produced of the injuries, and their age can be identified too. The renderings are used in court to during trials to provide visual context and support the Pathologist’s testimony.
Facilities at WMG, University of Warwick, have been used to provide expert witness testimony in over 100 Homicide cases by 13 different police forces across the UK. Cases include strangulation, stabbing, blunt force trauma and bone fractures.
A recent case study is the murder of 9-week-old baby Teri-Rae.
Researchers at WMG used the high resolution X-ray (micro-CT) scanner, to scan the toddler’s ribcage. They were able to detect microscopic injuries which could otherwise have been missed by medical CT scanners. The evidence produced helped reveal a total of eleven injuries of varying ages. 3D renderings of these injuries were shown during trial to support the bone specialist’s expert testimony.
Professor Mark Williams of WMG comments:
“It is a real privilege to be able to support West Midlands Police and formalise our relationship through the establishment of a research centre. The opportunity to apply state-of-the technology to support Homicide investigation is very exciting.
"3D X-Ray scanners allowed us to identify multiple fractures to Teri-Rae’s ribs that had occurred over an extended period of time. The ability to produce highly detailed 3D images of these shocking injuries that could be presented at court helped establish the truth and show what had happened. It’s an honour for us to provide critical evidence in cases like this, and to be able to help the police investigate such an unfortunate tragedy.”
The technology itself has been used beyond the West Midlands, with police forces throughout the United Kingdom using the technology as part of their investigations.
Assistant Director Michelle Painter Head of Forensic Services for West Midlands Police comments:
“The strategic partnership with WMG has enabled police forensics to access state of the art technology to progress investigations. In addition to the homicide cases being delivered through the centre, we are pushing research boundaries; combining scientific skill, knowledge and history with innovative technology and presentation techniques.
“Additional PhD studies have commenced on dismemberment tools and we will soon be finalising further research projects including scanning fingerprint and footwear marks and assessing damaged digital devices for protected data sources. The research and partnership possibilities are endless and exciting!”
WMG technology has helped in previous cases, West Midlands Police Detective Superintendent Mark Payne comments:
“It’s a fantastic development in the field of forensics and, as we’ve proved in the few cases to date, can be crucial in helping us uncover the truth behind some of our most serious crimes.”
30 APRIL 2019
NOTES TO EDITORS
Image available at:
https://warwick.ac.uk/services/communications/medialibrary/images/april2019/wmg_280219-89.jpg Caption: The scanning machine at WMG, University of Warwick. Credit to WMG, University of Warwick
Caption: Detective Superintendent Mark Payne (left) and Professor Mark Williams (right) at the facility. Credit: WMG, University of Warwick
Caption: Professor Mark Williams (left) and Detective Superintendent Mark Payne (right) look at a scan of a murder victim Credit: WMG, University of Warwick
Caption: Professor Mark Williams right shows Detective Superintendent Mark Payne (left) a 3d printed model of a murder victim’s Humerus Credit: WMG, University of Warwick
For further information please contact:
Media Relations Manager – Science
University of Warwick
Tel: +44 (0) 2476 574 255 or +44 (0) 7920 531 221
Researchers from WMG at The University of Warwick, have used a high resolution X-ray (micro-CT) scanner, a novel 3D imaging technology more commonly employed in industry and materials research, to scan 9 week old Teri-Rae’s rib cage.
The scans images with one thousand times of the detail of a hospital scanner, meaning they were able to detect 2 more microscopic injuries which could otherwise have been missed by conventional medical CT scanners.
The evidence produced helped reveal a total of ten injuries of varying ages. 3D renderings of these injuries were shown during trial to provide visual context and support the bone specialist’s expert testimony.
This secured a guilty verdict for the charge of manslaughter for Teri-Rae’s mother Abigail Palmer, who has been sentenced today - 4th April 2019.
The work was conducted as part of an ongoing research partnership between Warwick University and West Midlands Police which uses such scanning technologies to support homicide investigations.
Professor Mark Williams of WMG at the University of Warwick comments:
“State-of-the-art 3D scanning technology allowed us to identify multiple fractures to Teri-Rae’s ribs that had occurred over an extended period of time.
“The ability to produce highly detailed 3D images of these shocking injuries that could be presented at court helped establish the truth and show what had happened. It’s an honour for us to provide critical evidence to this case, and to be able to help the police investigate such an unfortunate tragedy.”
West Midlands Police Sergeant Mick Byron from the Child Abuse Investigation Team, comments:
“We were able to show that Teri-Rae suffered 10 rib fractures over a four to 12 hour period between 3am and 11am on 2 January.
“Palmer had been at a pub for six hours on New Year’s Day but claimed to have drank mainly squash, not alcohol, as that would have breached a condition of the Child Protection Plan she was bound by.
“We don’t believe her… and neither did the jury. We suspect she came home drunk, was awoken by her baby in the night and inflicted these terrible images in response to Teri-Rae’s crying.
“Palmer admitted the baby was never out of her sight and never mishandled by anyone else; she offered no plausible accidental explanation for her daughter’s injuries. There was no indication Teri-Rae suffered a bone fragility condition and she was not independently mobile enough to have injured herself.
“Significant force is required to cause rib fractures in a baby… the presence of rib fractures in a baby of this age is indicative of abusive, deliberately inflicted, injury. This was a truly heart-breaking case to investigate, that a little baby’s life was taken by the one person who should have been protecting her.”
Guinness World Records have independently certified an astrolabe excavated from the wreck site of a Portuguese Armada Ship that was part of Vasco da Gama’s second voyage to India in 1502-1503 as the oldest in the world, and have separately certified a ship’s bell (dated 1498) recovered from the same wreck site also as the oldest in the world.
A gunmetal disc excavated from the wreck site of a Portuguese Armada Ship and identified as a mariner’s astrolabe – and the earliest known example - by engineers at WMG, University of Warwick is to be published in the The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology
The astrolabe was discovered by David L. Mearns of Blue Water Recoveries Ltd, who directed the three-year archaeological project in collaboration with Oman’s Ministry of Heritage and Culture
It has been named the Sodré astrolabe after the commander of the ship in which it was found: Vicente Sodré was the maternal uncle of Vasco da Gama and died when his ship, the Esmeralda, wrecked on the remote Omani Island of Al Hallaniyah in 1503.
It will be listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest mariner’s astrolabe from as early as 1496
The scientific process of verifying the disc as an astrolabe by laser imaging is described in a paper published today by Mearns and Jason Warnett and Mark Williams of WMG at the University of Warwick in The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology.
The Sodré astrolabe which has made it into the Guinness Book of World Records is believed to have been made between 1496 and 1501 and is unique in comparison to all other mariner’s astrolabes.
Mariner’s Astrolabes were used for navigating at sea by early explorers, most notably the Portuguese and Spanish.
They are considered to be the rarest and most prized of artefacts to be found on ancient shipwrecks and only 104 examples are known to exist in the world.
They were first used at sea on a Portuguese voyage down the west coast of Africa in 1481. Thereafter, astrolabes were relied on for navigation during the most important explorations of the late 15th century, including those led by Bartolomeu Dias, Christopher Columbus and Vasco da Gama.
As the earliest verifiable mariner’s astrolabe it fills a chronological gap in the development of these iconic instruments and is believed to be a transitional instrument between the classic planispheric astrolabe and the open-wheel type astrolabe that came into use sometime before 1517.
The thin 175 mm diameter disk weighing 344 grams was analysed by a team from WMG who travelled to Muscat, Oman in November 2016 to collect laser scans of a selection of the most important artefacts recovered from the wreck site.
Using a portable 7-axis Nikon laser scanner, capable of collecting over 50,000 points per second at an accuracy of 60 microns, a 3D virtual model of the artefact was created. Analysis of the results revealed a series of 18 scale marks spaced at uniform intervals along the limb of the disk.
Further analysis by WMG engineers showed that the spacing of the scale marks was equivalent to 5-degree intervals. This was critical evidence that allowed independent experts at Texas A&M University to include the disk in their global inventory as the earliest known mariner’s astrolabe discovered to date.
Prof Mark Williams from WMG, University of Warwick comments:
“Using this 3D scanning technology has enabled us to confirm the identity of the earliest known astrolabe, from this historians and scientists can determine more about history and how ships navigated.
Technology like this betters our understanding of how the disc would have worked back in the 15th century. Using technology normally applied within engineering projects to help shed insight into such a valuable artefact was a real privilege”
David Mearns of Blue Water Recoveries Ltd comments:
“Without the laser scanning work performed by WMG we would never have known that the scale marks, which were invisible to the naked eye, existed. Their analysis proved beyond doubt that the disk was a mariner’s astrolabe. This has allowed us to confidently place the Sodré astrolabe in its correct chronological position and propose it to be an important transitional instrument.”
Hip surgeons are making significant advances in designing hip replacement components using additive manufacturing (3D printing) but have been struggling to devise easy methods of testing the designs they have created without using destructive testing techniques. Now researchers in WMG at the University of Warwick have devised a way of examining and ensuring the quality of those designs without destructive testing using scanning techniques normally used to examine new component designs for high-end automotive manufacturing.
Successful surgical reconstruction or replacement of a joint (arthroplasty) requires integration of the prosthetic implant with the bone to replace the damaged joint. Surgeons therefore seek to use Bone-mimetic biomaterials for implants as their mechanical properties and porous structure can be designed to allow bone ingrowth and help fix the implant.
The famous Oxford Dodo died after being shot, according to breakthrough research by Oxford University Museum of Natural History and WMG at the University of Warwick.
Using revolutionary forensic scanning technology and world-class expertise, researchers have discovered surprising evidence that the Oxford Dodo was shot in the neck and back of the head with a shotgun.
The significant and unexpected findings, made by Professor Paul Smith, director of the Museum of Natural History, and Professor Mark Williams from WMG at the University of Warwick, only became apparent when mysterious particles were found in the specimen during scans carried out to help analyse its anatomy.
The findings cast doubt on the popular theory that the Oxford Dodo is the remains of a bird kept alive in a townhouse in 17th-century London.