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UK police force licenses, markets new fingerprint technique


A UK police force has made thousands of dollars in royalties from its biometric invention.

The Northamptonshire Police invented the innovative technique of “fingerprint visualising”. The technique reveals previously undiscovered fingerprints on metal, especially gun shell casings, by applying high voltage to metal and then adding ceramic beads coated with a fine powder to the surface.

The innovation, devised by Dr. John Bond, a former Scientific Support Manager at Northamptonshire Police and now a researcher at the University of Leicester, was patented by the Northamptonshire Police. The police service granted an exclusive licence to Consolite Forensics Ltd. to manufacture, market and sell what it calls the Cartridge Electrostatic Recovery and Analysis system, or CERA. worldwide.

“I am delighted to hear that the first machine has been sold and that this is bringing some benefit to policing in Northamptonshire,” stated Bond. “It has proved a gateway to further development to taking fingerprints from surfaces exposed to extreme heat such as shell casing, water logging such as a weapon which has been down a drain, and everyday items such as thermal paper, till receipts and cash point ATM surrounds.”

The system has even been used to assist investigators look at past events such as the Lockerbie bombing.

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