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"Bureaucracies hide their mistakes, because people's careers are tied to those mistakes. Therefore, bureaucracies are a perfect mechanism for perpetuating mistakes."
- Frank Herbert

Police Sketch Artist Software  
  A tablet-style computer with sketch pad software to help identify suspects.  

At this point in the story, one of the officers has seen the bad guy. She describes him to a police "sketch artist."


(Software sketch artist from the film Runaway)

"He had different eyes."

"Is that him?"

"Face was narrower... and his eyes were squintier..."

"More like that?"

From Runaway, by Michael Crichton.
Published by Tri-Star Pictures in 1985
Additional resources -

The sketch artist software operator would work with the controls and alter the picture based on the description of the witness.


(Police sketch artist pad detail)

Best of all, the resulting "sketch" could be animated; a moving picture of someone is a much better means of identification.

As far as I know, the earliest police sketch artist software to actually be used came out in 1995. Suspect ID by Imageware would allow an officer with no artistic background to create an image good enough to be used on the street.

This same company now offers an enhanced version of the same software, as well as face-recognition software to take images and search for suspects in databases.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Runaway
  More Ideas and Technology by Michael Crichton
  Tech news articles related to Runaway
  Tech news articles related to works by Michael Crichton

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