Bring the jury to the crime scene via a 3D helmet

As any juror will tell you, piecing together a crime from a series of documents presented in a courtroom is no easy task, especially when a person’s future is at stake.

Producing the correct verdict on auto accident and murder cases depends on a good knowledge of the space, but unless you are at the scene of the crime, the margin for error is large.

However, thanks to the advent of virtual reality (VR), jurors now have a better chance of making the right decision.

A new study published by the University of South Australia provides overwhelming evidence for the use of virtual reality in the courtroom, dropping jurors in the middle of a car crash or a murder scene.

A team of UniSA researchers, lawyers, police and forensic pathologists simulated a hit-and-run scene, reconstructing events with a laser scanner to compare verdicts between “jurors” using 3D helmets and those using 3D helmets. pressing photographs of the scene.

The result? Better recall, spatial accuracy and more consistent verdicts in the case of jurors (30 study participants) using interactive technology.

“Virtual reality has also taken a lot less effort than using photographs to reconstruct the sequence of events,” says Dr Andrew Cunningham, from UniSA’s Australian Research Center for Interactive and Virtual Environments.

Study participants who watched the scene with 3D headphones were 9.5 times more likely (86.67%) to choose the same verdict – Death by Dangerous Driving – than the group who relied on the photographs, who was split 47/53% between reckless driving verdict and reckless driving verdict.

“Participants who were immersed in the scene were more likely to correctly remember the location of the car in relation to the victim at the time of the accident, when it was difficult for people to view the scene from still images.

“This provides unequivocal evidence that interactive technology leads to fairer and more consistent verdicts, and could indeed be the future of courtrooms,” said Dr Cunningham.

Lead researcher Dr Carolin Reichherzer says site visits are still the gold standard for providing juries with a realistic feel of a scene, but they also have their drawbacks.

“They are expensive – especially in remote locations – and in some cases the site itself has changed, making precise visualizations impossible,” says Dr Reichherzer.

Virtual reality takes priority in the courtroom internationally, with the most famous example in 2019 when the Bavarian State Criminal Bureau created an interactive scene of the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp for assist the prosecution in a war crimes trial.

A video completing this press release is available at https://youtu.be/zQl77dzfm3A

Notes for Editors

“Bringing the Jury to the Crime Scene: Memory and Decision Making in a Mock Crime Scene” was ranked among the top 5% of the most important papers presented at CHI 2021: Conference on Human Factors in Computer Systems , held in Japan in May. The conference is considered the most prestigious in the field of human-machine interaction.


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