My Friday Post: Is The Technology Behind CSI Real?

It’s Friday. As CIOs clear down their inboxes and tie up loose ends before the weekend, it is time to take a break…

I have always been fascinated with CBS’s CSI franchise: CSI Las Vegas, CSI Miami, and CSI New York. All the shows can stand on their own with different styles and substance or lack there off depending on whom you talk with.

Since I am not a forensic scientist I will not discuss if the science is real or not. I did meet a real forensic scientist at a party once and she admittedly said the science behind the show is not really what happens in the lab. She said it is pretty mundane and not as glitzy as the shows make it out to be. Oh Hollywood…the mundane is never as interesting.

I am however fascinated with the technology of the shows. Some shows rely on it more than others to solve their homicide cases in one hour. For example, CSI New York uses modified surface computers to recreate crime scenes and the stars carrying tablet PCs and UMPCs instead of notepads. Whatever the latest coolest technology is at the time is on theses shows. It makes any tech enthusiast jealous.

However, other uses really do not make sense to me. The most obvious is to be able to zoom into photographs to see tiny details such a license plate from 3000 feet. I wish iPhoto could do that. The three-dimensional human body that they can operate on which looks like something from Star Trek. What supercomuter are are they using? To be able to do reverse telephone number lookups across every database in law enforcement and to be able to go back several months. Is there really such a program to do this?

Regardless if the technology is exaggerated on these shows or not it does make it fun to watch. CSI is highly contagious. If you are a technologist just watch one of the shows and let me know what you think about the tech behind the shows?

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5 thoughts on “My Friday Post: Is The Technology Behind CSI Real?

  1. I love that show. Regarding the technology, I always think, “How long did it take to set up that simulation?” Do they have wireframe models handy for every streetcorner? Did they drag “medium-sized victim” into the scene? Exaggerated, but loads of fun.

  2. My favorite absurd technology leap was when they zoomed into the glint in a person’s eye to see something that was reflected on the person’s eye. They zoomed in so far that they could see the face of a person nearby in the reflection off the eyeball. Hilarious.

    But a good show.

  3. I have a friend working for a major government cybersecurity contractor who tells me it is a mixed breed of real systems “on loan” for the shoot and some smoke and mirrors / TV magic. But don’t think for a minute we can’t see the onions on your bigmac from space with our satelite zoom technology.

    –John

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