Overlapped latent fingerprints occurring at crime scenes challenge forensic investigations, as they cannot be properly processed unless separated. Addressing this, Chen et al. proposed a relaxation-labelling-based approach on simulated samples, improved by Feng et al. for conventionally developed latent ones. As the development of advanced contactless nanometre-range sensing technology keeps broadening the vision of forensics, the authors use a chromatic white light sensor for contactless non-invasive acquisition. This preserves the fingerprints for further investigations and enhances existing separation techniques.
Motivated by the trend in dactyloscopy that investigations now not only aim at identifications but also retrieving further context of the fingerprints (e.g. chemical composition, age), a context-based separation approach is suggested for high-resolution samples of overlapped latent fingerprints. The author’s conception of context-aware data processing is introduced to analyse the context in this forensic scenario, yielding an enhanced separation algorithm with optimised parameters. Two test sets are generated for evaluation, one consisting of 60 authentic overlapped fingerprints on three substrates and the other of 100 conventionally developed latent samples from the work of Feng et al. An equal error rate of 5.7% is achieved on the first test set, which shows improvement over their previous work, and 17.9% on the second.