The UK is currently experimenting with using VR to reconstruct virtual models of crime scenes that can be used in court as evidence and the HTC Vive is at the center of it.
A Staffordshire University project has undertaken an experiment to introduce technology to the court rooms in order to transport jurors to virtual crime scenes having received a European Commission research grant of about £140,000.
The technology uses green screens and the HTC Vive to allow barristers to walk jurors through virtual crime scenes.
Associate Prof of Forensics, Dr Caroline Sturdy Colls, said:
“What we want to do is to come up with the best solution that helps the criminal justice system – help the police in their detection and recording of crime and then to help jurors in court to understand those crimes better that they ever did before.”
One of the benefits of using the HTC Vive is the virtual controllers that can be used with the headset to use allow the jurors to pick up pieces of evidence to examine around the crime scene – something that outside of virtual reality would be impossible.
Simon Tweats, head of justice services at Staffordshire Police, said it could make a significant difference with regard to how evidence was presented and “bring to life” complex scenes.
Despite the relatively low cost of £700 for the headset, the adoption of the technology into the court rooms is expected to be slow, even though the benefit of virtual reality is clear.
He added: “Doing that in a way that is far easier for juries to understand and appreciate – which can only be be good for everybody, for prosecution and defence.”
While the idea is fantastic and will undoubtedly allow jurors to assess the crime scene to a great level of detail, it is this very point of getting that environment to the necessary level of detail that will take a long time to model.
Regardless of the complications around adoption, the benefit in the legal system is clear and hopefully we’ll see virtual reality come to fruition not only in the UK, but across the various legal systems around the world.