Tokyo police are now taking 3D mugshots of suspects

tokyo police take 3d photos suspects aid iding surveillance footage mugshot
The Asahi Shimbun Company/Police White Paper
With facial recognition technology seeing wider use in law enforcement, at least one city police department is changing the way they take mugshots. The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department will start taking 3D pictures of suspects during the booking process starting in April, the Asahi Shimbun reports.

The hope is the new 3D shots will assist police in identifying suspects in security camera footage. Often the suspect’s face is obscured, so it’s tough to confirm that the person in the police station is actually the criminal in the security footage with sufficient certainty. “As we can identify the suspects more quickly and accurately, our arrest rate is expected to become greater,” an unnamed high ranking officer told the paper.

3D cameras will be installed in all 102 police stations across the region, with a central department responsible for maintaining the database of the 3D mugshots. The cameras take pictures from three different angles to create the image. Once taken, police will be able to manipulate these images to match the angle of the pictures taken on security cameras to better make a positive match.

This is not the first time the MPD has experimented with 3D cameras in police work, though. The first cameras were tested 15 years ago in the department’s labs, and were wheeled out to an individual precinct by request. This obviously wasn’t the most efficient way to use the technology.

Beginning in April, that changes. While the MPD will continue to take the standard front facing and side pictures we’re all familiar with, they’ll also take a 3D version as well. It was not clear from the Asahi Shimbun’s report whether officers would need manipulate the 3D image manually, or whether it would be run through some kind of computer algorithm to test for a match.

The latter application seems to make more sense since it allows the officers to work on other work simultaneously. Down the road, the Tokyo MPD could very well use the technology to identify suspects on the streets through a network of private and publicly owned security cameras throughout the city.

That is sure to rile privacy advocates in the country, which already have questioned the MPD’s use of surveillance cameras and what it plans to do with them.

Product Review

Meet Z6, the breakout star in Nikon's new mirrorless lineup

The Nikon Z6 is the sibling to the new mirrorless Z7 -- but for some photographers, the cheaper Z6 may be the better option. Read where the $2,000 camera beats the $3,400 one (and where it doesn’t) in our Nikon Z6 review.
Social Media

Snapchat facial recognition could soon power a new portrait mode, code suggests

Digging into Snapchat's code suggests a handful of upcoming camera features, including a portrait mode. The feature appears to use facial recognition A.I. to blur the background. The code also suggests an updated camera interface.

Leica targets street photographers with a pricey camera bundle

Described by the camera company as "your perfect companion in the city," Leica's Street Kit comprises a Leica CL camera body, a 23mm (35mm full-frame equivalent) F2 lens, batteries, a handgrip, and a black leather carrying strap.

The best mirrorless cameras pack all the power of a DSLR, minus the bulk

Mirrorless cameras offer a lot of photography firepower, inside a compact body. Explore the best mirrorless cameras, from the pro-level to the beginner-friendly shooters, in this guide.
Emerging Tech

Early-detection system for wildfires could save many states from big burns

When it comes to dealing with the growing problem of raging wildfires, a new wireless smart sensor system could help spot burgeoning blazes before they rage out of control. Here's how it works.

Light up the night! Here are the five best headlamps money can buy

Headlamps make all the difference when camping or walking the dog at night, especially when you're in need of both hands. From Black Diamond and Petzl to Coast here are some of the best headlamps on the market.
Emerging Tech

Elon Musk to unveil tunnel elevators and autonomous pods on December 18

We'll soon learn if Elon Musk's high-speed tunnel plan is a serious effort at ending traffic jams or little more than a fancy theme park ride. A big unveiling event is coming on December 18, a week later than originally planned.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Emerging Tech

Feast your eyes on the wildest, most elaborate Rube Goldberg machines ever built

Want to see something totally mesmerizing? Check out several of the best Rube Goldberg machines from across the internet, including one that serves cake and other that do ... nothing particularly useful.
Emerging Tech

The 20 best tech toys for kids will make you wish you were 10 again

Looking for the perfect toy or gadget for your child? Thankfully, we've rounded up some of our personal favorite tech toys, including microscopes, computer kits, and a spherical droid from a galaxy far, far away.
Emerging Tech

Scoot your commute! Here are the 9 best electric scooters on the market

Electric scooters are an affordable, convenient way to minimize your carbon footprint and zip around town. Check out 8 of our current favorites, whether you're working with a budget or have some cash to spare.
Emerging Tech

Sick of walking everywhere? Here are the best electric skateboards you can buy

Thanks for Kickstarter and Indiegogo, electric skateboards are carving a bigger niche than you might think. Whether you're into speed, mileage, or something a bit more stylish, here are the best electric skateboards on the market.
Emerging Tech

Hear the sounds of wind on Mars from InSight’s latest audio recording

NASA's InSight craft has captured the sound of the wind blowing on the surface of Mars. The audio file was picked up by the air pressure sensor and the seismometer which detected vibrations from the 10 to 15 mph winds in the area.

Has Columbus, Ohio raised its IQ yet? A progress report from the mayor

Two years ago, the city of Columbus in Ohio received $40 million to pursue smart city initiatives. So, what’s happened since then? We spoke with its mayor, Andrew Ginther, to discuss progress and what’s ahead.