Think 3D printing is just an amazing technology for DIY crafting and makers everywhere? Well, then it’s time to rethink. It turns out that it could soon be helping to put away real life criminals. Yup, 3D printing might be the star of the next episode of Law & Order SVU.

3D Printed Evidence, known as 3DE for short, is a company based in Florida that provides regional 3D models and replicas for courtroom evidence. Having a real 3D version of some of the evidence, like fingerprints or broken bones, can help jurors more easily understand the details of each case, potentially improving their ability to create a fair trial.

Thanks to 3D printing, it will now be even harder for criminals to get away with their crimes. Gone are the days of the rudimentary white plaster footprint or dried muddy fingerprint. Now we can create something detailed and useful to the case from things as seemingly insignificant as a smartphone photo, without any ambiguity.

The 3D printers are also used to design to-scale crime scenes, so jurors can better understand the spacing and movements of the potential criminal. Even unsolved crimes from long ago could potentially be resurrected thanks to this new tech that could bring insight into years-old cases. [Insert Law & Order *dun dun* noise.]

What do you think of this new use for 3D printing? Tell us in the comments below!