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December 28, 2009
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Next Generation Cartridge Scanning: The ALIAS System

By Scott M. Bruner
PoliceOne Product Editor

The IBIS system has been a mainstay for 20 years in the ballistics analysis field – but it’s about to get s significant upgrade. ALIAS (Advanced Ballistics Analysis System), from Pyramidal Technologies, is set for a January release.

ALIAS is the spiritual successor to IBIS, designed by the original developer of IBIS, Pyramidal Technologies CEO Mike Barrett. ALIAS hosts several new features and upgrades over IBIS, with perhaps the most significant one being the ability to render cartridge scans and images fully in three dimensions. It can scan a cartridge image at a resolution of 2 microns – or 1/50th the diameter of typical human hair. ALIAS is then able to provide the images to any number of departmental, national and international databases for analysis.

“We can check an unknown cartridge to a database with a three-dimensional image, while everyone else is still using 2D,” said Barrett, “It is the only system in the world that can not only acquire an image, but can also correlate that data with databases. It is fully networkable with other databases in the world.”

Barrett began work on ALIAS at the request from a number of law enforcement agencies to update their aging IBIS systems, and to make it more user-friendly.

The list of features of the new system is impressive. Unlike other ballistics systems, ALIAS is designed to produce images in only three steps. It uses an application-specific interferometer to capture an image, which is then processed in a 64-bit format to create the three dimensional image. The interferometer can scan up to six cartridges in a sequence and all images captured by the interferometer contain identical information. Ballistics analysts can compare images from with a case, as well as images from other cases. Users can compare images side by side, superimposed, through color changes on the matching area, zoom comparison, or by visualizing non-matching areas. Information can be shared by different applications.

“The ALIAS system also has an open structure so it can export its data to any other program you want,” said Barrett.

ALIAS runs oon the Macintosh Pro platform. Costs can vary depending on the requested setup, although a standard workstation system, including the Macintosh and interferometer, starts at $375,000.
For more information on ALIAS, visit

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