The Power of Smartphones in the Field

In recent years, smartphones have become valuable tools for information, productivity, and communication. The cameras built into these devices have always been a major draw. These days you can enjoy incredible detail and even professional quality images with the additions of photo editing, enhanced zoom range, and lens functions. Additionally, some smartphones have a new sensor that adds depth scanning for better photos. LIDAR (“light detection and ranging”) technology works by bouncing lasers off objects to measure their distance, based on how long it takes for the light to get back to the sensor. The depth sensing is also used to improve night portrait mode effects.

Having a mobile phone capable of taking pictures at a moment’s notice has brought dramatic changes to the way people see the world. While some industries have suffered to stay relevant with the rapidly advancing smartphone technology, others benefit greatly from an increasing connected society.

One such industry that has been revolutionized by these technological advancements is forensic engineering. There are cases in which time is of the essence. Quickly collecting and cataloging the scene, whether day or night, can add critical insight in accident investigation. As a best-in-class forensic engineering company, Aperture is finding the newest smartphone camera technology to be an asset in shining the light on the truth.

With over 23 years as an Accident Reconstruction Principal, Andy Irwin, Executive Vice President at Aperture, has experienced the evolution of technology in the field first-hand. In the early days, Irwin shared that film cameras were used to document accident scenes. Irwin explained that the process of using film cameras was slower, less productive, and less efficient than today. Photographs are often the only evidence that remains of an accident. Since film must be developed before viewing, you may end up with poor quality photos. The advent of digital photography (DSLRs) improved upon film, delivering excellent image quality. However, recently there has been a dramatic drop in the worldwide purchase of cameras. The single reason is the rise of the smartphone camera. The science behind the various intricacies like storage capacity, triple camera design, and artificial intelligence-based computation is sophisticated. Preserving quality evidence is paramount to the evaluation process and case. Using a state-of-the art smartphone camera guarantees solutions though science, solidifying Aperture as a force beyond compare.

But is using a smartphone camera for accident reconstruction photos really a viable long-term option? “Having a phone in your back pocket allows the investigator to have a rapid response to the event. Using a smartphone allows you to get into smaller spaces for detailed images”, states Andy Irwin. He adds, “there is less bulky equipment to carry, and the pictures are just better.” Additionally, clients reap the benefits of a very fast turn-around time. “Pictures can be taken, downloaded to Dropbox, and shared with the client in a matter of minutes”, Irwin explained. All these benefits deliver on Aperture’s promise to provide accurate, truthful, and impactful analysis for their clients.

With the high-tech progression of camera phones offering the alluring combination of extremely precise images and lightning-fast delivery, smartphones have found their rightful place in forensic engineering. It’s exciting to imagine what technology advancements lie ahead. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words and at Aperture we are committed to keeping the truth in focus.