Minimally Invasive Surgery and Interventional Techniques
Department of Biomechanical Engineering - Delft University of Technology
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Measuring Thermal Properties of Textile for Time of Death Estimation
07 October 2020


When a body is discovered at a crime scene and there is any suspicion of a committed crime, the more precise the police knows this time of death, the easier it is to rule out suspects and to prove what happened. Current methods for time of death estimation, such as the Henssge monogram, are highly inaccurate and user-dependent.

In project Therminus, coordinated by the Netherlands Forensic Institute, the Amsterdam Medical Center and the TU Delft, a new method for time of death estimation is being developed. For this method, a simplified finite element model of the victim is combined with all kinds of properties of the mortal remains and its environment. The Therminus model potentially allows estimating the time of death with an accuracy of about 15 minutes, instead of several hours, and user-independent.

To make the Therminus model work properly, a set of smart hand-tools is being developed to measure the thermal properties of the floor under the victim, the thermal properties of clothes/blankets around the victim, and the body-weight of the victim. In order to find and catch a suspect, it is crucial to determine thermal properties of clothing, carpets, blankets etc. directly on the crime-scene. Therefore, commonly available laboratory devices providing these measurements are unsuitable. There is a need for a smart hand-held device for measuring thermal properties of textile layers that can be incorporated in the crime scene investigation process.


  1. Develop a compact, light-weight, easy-to-use device for measuring  the thermal properties of textile layers around, on or below mortal remains at a crime scene with a 2% accuracy and without disturbing the crime scene investigation process.
  2. Do so in cooperation with the final users (crime scene investigators and other forensic professionals) and perform functional and usability tests with those users.

Additional info

A proper budget is available, so we like to see you deliver a well-designed, -built and -tested practice-ready prototype. You will have to sign an NDA & IP-transfer. You may be working with sensitive materials or may have to visit crime-scenes and we expect your utmost discretion and professionality.

Contact: Arjo Loeve,

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