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August 7, 1997


ECIL offers advanced fingerprint detection system

The Electronics Corporation of India Limited has developed a state-of-the-art 'latent print finder' system which can make hidden fingerprints visible for crime detection.

Conventional techniques using dusting powders is adequate in cases where the fingerprints are fresh and on smooth surfaces. However, in cases where the fingerprints are relatively old and also the surfaces are of varying textures and materials, the conventional techniques do not yield satisfactory results.

The ECIL Latent Print Finder, the first of its kind in the country, uses a xenon arc lamp as a polychromatic light source for speedy processing, detection and photo-capture of latent fingerprints. It has a flexible light guide for remote examination of otherwise inaccessible places.

Developed under a grant-in-aid programme supported by the Department of Electronics, the ECIL system, which is portable by design and rugged in construction, has also an optional equipment to capture fingerprints images for digitised storage, processing, retrieval, printing and identification through fingerprint databases.

The project was initiated under the Photonics Technology Development Mission to meet the requirements of user agencies like the National Crime Records Bureau, Central Fingerprint Bureau and various state Fingerprint Bureaux and Forensic Laboratories.

A special feature of the system is that the fluorescent image of the prints from illuminated samples is viewed through special goggles.

Suitable barrier filters, supplied with the equipment enable viewing and photo-capture of the prints. Prints, stains on hard and soft materials with rough, smooth and textured surfaces like paper, glass, weapon, wood, plastic, adhesive tape, ceramic, metal, rexine, leather and many other types of objects or surfaces generally found at crime sites can be detected with this system.

According to the technical manager of the instruments group of ECIL, the system's efficacy was acknowledged by experts in the police department, fingerprint bureaux, forensic science laboratories and crime investigating agencies.

The police departments of Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Delhi have shown interest in the system, which costs Rs 650,000. Apparently, many state governments do not have enough funds to buy the latest equipment and the Union government will have to provide financial assistance in this regard.

The National Crime Records Bureau has recommended to the ECIL to bring down the price of the system to Rs 500,000.

- Compiled from the Indian media

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