The Japanese have come up with some ingenious (and terrifying) uses for 3D printers since the technology became largely mainstream last year. It's latest use of the technology is once again an entirely new take on 3D printing that will surely be used by others around the world.
ANN News reports that Japanese police used a 3D printed bust, based on an illustration, to find the last remaining member of Aum Shinrikyo. For those who didn't pay attention in their Japanese history class, Aum Shinrikyo was the domestic terrorist organization behind the deadly sarin gas attack 0f 1995 that killed 13 people and injured many others.
Since the attack, police made a concerted effort to hunt down all the members of the organization. Katsuya Takahashi was the only remaining member of the organization, and police finally tracked him to a manga cafe using the aforementioned 3D printed bust that offered more details in regards to what he looked like.
Here's the original news report. It's in Japanese, but English captions are available:
Interestingly enough, the Japanese police are not only using 3D printers to recreate faces of wanted criminals and terrorists. They've also been using 3D printers to recreate weapons and crime scenes. In the future, the police will be using 3D printers to create models for court trials as well.
The future of the Japanese court system may very well lie in custom games of Clue where the prosecutor takes the jury through a 3D printed layout of the crime scene with 3D printed characters and 3D printed weapons. It might actually manage to make jury duty fun.[h/t: 3ders]