Dead men tell no tales, but their phones might.
Early last month, two detectives walked into the lab of Anil Jain, a professor of computer science and engineering at Michigan State University. They had heard of Jain’s cutting-edge work in fingerprint recognition and wanted his help in a murder investigation.
The detectives brought the victim’s locked Samsung Galaxy S6 phone and a copy of his fingerprints, as he had been previously arrested. The investigators said they believed his phone might hold clues to who killed him and asked Jain to help them get inside the phone by overcoming the fingerprint scanner lock.
Jain and his team — doctoral student Sunpreet Arora and postdoctoral student Kai Cao — spent the following several weeks tinkering with a solution. This week, they found one that worked.
Photo: Michigan State University researchers Sunpreet Arora (left), Anil Jain (center) and Kai Cao (right) tried 3-D printed fingertips and 2-D fingerprint replicas on conductive paper to unlock a murder victim’s phone, similar to one in the photo. Derrick Turner/Michigan State University