Assessing Forensic Ballistics Three-Dimensionally through Graphical Reconstruction and Immersive Observation

Luca Guarnera1, Oliver Giudice2, Salvatore Livatino3, Antonino Barbaro Paratore4, Angelo Salici5, Sebastiano Battiato1
1 Dipartimento di Matematica e Informatica, University of Catania, Viale Andrea Doria, 6, Catania, 95126, Italy -,
2 Applied Research Team, IT Department, Banca d’Italia, Rome, Italy -
3 School of Physics, Engineering and Computer Science, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, AL10 9AB, UK -
4 iCTLab Spinoff of University of Catania, Viale Andrea Doria, 6, Catania, 95126, Italy -
5 Carabinieri Scientific Investigations Department of Messina, Via Monsignor D’Arrigo, 5, Messina, 98122, Italy -


A crime scene can provide valuable evidence critical to explain reason and modality of the occurred crime, and it can also lead to the arrest of criminals. The type of evidence collected by crime scene investigators or by law enforcement may accordingly effective involved cases. Bullets and cartridge cases examination is of paramount importance in forensic science because they may contain traces of microscopic striations, impressions and markings, which are unique and reproducible as “ballistic fingerprints”. The analysis of bullets and cartridge cases is a complicated and challenging process, typically based on optical comparison, leading to the identification of the employed firearm. New methods have recently been proposed for more accurate comparisons, which rely on three-dimensionally reconstructed data. This paper aims at further advancing recent methods by introducing a novel immersive technique for ballistics comparison by means of Virtual Reality. Users can three-dimensionally examine the cartridge cases shapes through intuitive natural gestures, from any vantage viewpoint (including internal iper-magnified views), while having at their disposal sets of visual aids which could not be easily implemented in desktop-based applications. A user study was conducted to assess viability and performance of our solution, which involved fourteen individuals acquainted with the standard procedures used by law enforcement agencies. Results clearly indicated that our approach lead to faster adaptation of users to the UI/UX and more accurate and explainable ballistics examination results.

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   title={Assessing forensic ballistics three-dimensionally through graphical reconstruction and immersive VR observation},
   author={Luca Guarnera, Oliver Giudice, Salvatore Livatino, Antonino Barbaro Paratore, Angelo Salici, Sebastiano Battiato},
   journal={Multimedia Tools and Applications},