The infrared camera set-up, with a piece of test fabric (Photo: American Chemical Society)
Watch even one episode of the various CSI shows or any of its imitators, and you’re likely to see a crime scene investigator whip out their bottle of luminol. The chemical product is commonly used for detecting invisible residual blood, as it glows when combined with an oxidizing agent and exposed to the iron in hemoglobin. It does, however, have some drawbacks – luminol is potentially toxic, it sometimes dilutes blood evidence to the point that DNA can’t be detected, it can smear blood spatter patterns, and it sometimes provides false positives. Now, researchers from the University of South Carolina have developed a blood-detecting camera that reportedly does none of those things.