Id The Deceased

Identifying the Deceased

There was an explosion. Buildings collapsed. Chaos. First Responders have laid bodies in a jagged row. Sometimes just body parts. The forensic squad arrives, beginning the gruesome task of identifying the bodies. In their toolbelts, mobile biometric fingerprint scanners, designed precisely for this purpose.

Identifying the deceased can be complex. Particularly in the field. Key obstacles:

  • Damaged bodies (from heat, fire, cold, water, decay)
  • Limited information (no identification, unknown whereabouts)
  • Tough environmental conditions (darkness, dust, dampness, heat, cold)

Capturing fingerprints in the field for biometric identification is complicated. Traditional digital scanners are designed to capture fingerprints of the living, but they lack the ergonomic design necessary to fingerprint the dead. Additionally, they are heavy, bulky and require a lightweight, reliable power supply.

Integrated Biometrics (IB) FBI-certified mobile fingerprint scanners (Danno, Columbo, Sherlock, Watson, and Five-0) were invented to solve these specific problems.

Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) Squad of the Forensic Laboratory of the French Gendarmerie

For over 25 years, the DVI Squad of the Institut de Recherche Criminelle de la Gendarmerie Nationale, the forensic laboratory of the French Gendarmerie, has been involved in many identification cases including natural disasters, aircraft crashes, road traffic accidents and terrorist attacks. Because the team operates sometimes in extreme conditions, they have adapted their equipment for greater efficiency and accessibility.

The toolkit they’ve created is an all-in-one system dedicated to disaster victim identification. The kit allows the use of traditional techniques to produce postmortem records, but it also includes a biometric sensor combined with a portable automated fingerprint identification system. The Gendarmerie chose IB’s Watson two-finger scanner. The results conclude that the sensor gives the best quality-to-time ratio, enables quick victim identification and, consequently, a more rapid return of the bodies to their relatives.

Their conclusive report, The Fingerprint Disaster Victim Identification Toolkit: From Powder to Biometrics, says “Processing times are significantly reduced by the implementation of a biometric system for the bodies that are not too degraded. In the other cases (burned, mummified bodies), the Fingerprint DVI Toolkit provides the necessary equipment to perform traditional techniques, adding to its versatility.”


About Integrated Biometrics
Integrated Biometrics (IB), a pioneer in biometric fingerprint technology, designs and manufactures advanced, high-resolution touchless and FBI-certified contact identity solutions for government, law enforcement, military, social services, and a wide range of commercial applications. IB’s lightweight scanners, supported by our patented light-emitting sensor (LES) technology, outperform traditional fingerprint devices in size, power consumption, portability, and reliability. Global organizations rely on IB’s products to enroll and verify identities quickly and accurately, even in remote locations under extreme conditions. Commercial enterprises, government and financial services organizations depend on IB to build innovative, secure applications to establish identity in accordance with national and international standards. For more information, visit:

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