Case Study : Thermal Ribbon Analysis Platform

Helping Put Counterfeiters Away – One Ribbon at a Time!

QS has worked on a number of complex forensic programs and technologies, and has deep experience in supporting the forensics and law enforcement markets. One of our “greatest hits” is the Thermal Ribbon Analysis Platform (TRAP). TRAP was born out of a requirement by the US Secret Service (USSS), under support from the Counter Terrorism Technology Support Office (CTTSO) at the US DoD. The USSS is charged with investigating a variety of counterfeit identification cards, documents, and other materials, some of which are created via printers that use a thermal ribbon media and heat transfer process. Occasionally, law enforcement investigating counterfeit document “plants” recover used thermal ribbons, which happen to contain latent images with a record of what was printed – not unlike a “negative” in traditional photography parlance.

By scanning the ribbons, evidence can be recovered and analyzed to support or refute the guilt of accused counterfeiters. Combining sophisticated, QS designed and built custom hardware and software, TRAP is a first-of-its-kind forensic tool that performs this scanning and data recovery quickly and easily. Load a used ribbon, enter the parameters on the web-based software interface, click go – and in about an hour, TRAP recovers all of the latent imagery and produces clean, clear reports for us in the courtroom. The first TRAP (V1) was delivered to USSS and put into service in 2013, and has subsequently been enhanced (V2) and delivered to multiple organizations in the US and around the world. TRAP remains the only tool of its kind in the forensics marketplace, and is now available to labs and interested parties exclusively through QS partner Hunter Systems Group.