Virtopsy: The Virtual Autopsy*

  • Ephraim NissanEmail author
Part of the Law, Governance and Technology Series book series (LGTS, volume 5)


This chapter provides an overview of the Virtopsy procedure, a computerised approach to autopsy, lessening the need for invasive examination. Invasiveness results in the loss of evidence, and of the structural integrity of organs; it is also offensive to some worldviews. At the Institute of Forensic Medicine of the University of Bern, the Virtopsy project has unfolded during the 2000s, its aim being the application of high tech methods from the fields of measurement engineering, automation and medical imaging to create a complete, minimally invasive, reproducible and objective forensic assessment method. The data generated can be digitally stored or quickly sent to experts without a loss of quality. If new questions arise, the data can be revised even decades after the incident. This chapter describes technical aspects of the Virtopsy procedure, including imaging modalities and techniques (the Virtobot system, photogrammetry and surface scanning, post-mortem computer tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, post-mortem CT angiography, tissue/liquid sampling), then turning to the workflow of Virtopsy, and to a technical discussion of visualisation. Medical image data are for either radiologists and pathologists, or medical laypersons (such as in a courtroom situation). The final part of this chapter discusses Virtopsy in relation to the Swiss justice system.


Hounsfield Unit Linear Attenuation Coefficient Polygon Model Volume Dataset Medical Image Data 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ComputingGoldsmiths’ College, University of LondonLondonEngland

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