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Gait analysis forensics following other biometrics into the courtroom

EUIAI event takes stock of state of the art in investigative tools
Gait analysis forensics following other biometrics into the courtroom

Gait biometrics for forensic analysis have advanced dramatically over the past decade, but more collaboration is needed to bring it to the level where it is accepted in the same way as fingerprint analysis, according to an expert presentation at the recent EUIAI Virtual Conference 2022.

Professor Ivan Birch of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and Forensic Gait Analysis Services came to forensic gait analysis from a background studying and teaching about medical applications of the technology.

It is “not true in the forensic context” that gait analysis can be used to identify individuals, Birch says. Measures of uniqueness, and therefore identification, may be possible in the laboratory environment.

Birch says that by comparison, security camera footage held by police and local councils is “universally poor.”

Birch reviewed the roots and development of scientific gait analysis, and noted its regular use in evaluating race-horses and in sports biometrics.

The field has evolved similarly to face biometrics, Birch says, in parallel.

Characteristics are analyzed in terms of pitch, yaw and rotation, each describing a different plane of movement, with 21 different sections for groups of characteristics.

Having established these, a ‘Code of practice for forensic gait analysis’ was published in 2019 by the Forensics Society and Regulator and The College of Podiatry. The code had been in development for years, however, and competency tests began almost a decade earlier.

Regular casework has spread from the UK to Europe, the U.S. and Canada.

Next steps to advance the field of forensic gait analysis include the formation of an international organization for gait analysis. Birch co-founded the Forensic Gait Analysis International with colleagues from the U.S. The group is currently collaborating with the Turing Institute to look into the probative value of gait analysis.

The work continues, but Birch says more interdisciplinary participation and input are needed, not just to advance the science, but also to make forensic practitioners more aware of the current state of the art, and situations in which they can use gait analysis in criminal investigations.

Choose your biometrics wisely

Idemia VP of Innovation and Client Engagement Teresa Wu delivered a presentation on ‘Selection criteria for identification and biometric AI technology’ at the EUIAI Virtual Conference.

The industry needs to demand for from biometric algorithm providers, according to Wu.

This observation is based in part on Wu having experienced proposal presentations in which results from MINEX interoperability tests carried out years ago are presented as evidence of algorithmic excellence.

The presentation was based on Wu’s ‘Six Key Factors in Algorithm Excellence’ paper published in June.

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