All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Alan M Shih

Advisory Committee Members

Roy P Koomullil

John D Powers

Douglas H Ross

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME) School of Engineering


Forensic facial reconstruction is an application of forensic anthropology. It is a process of recreating the face of a human being based on skull remains. The process of recreating faces can be used to identify otherwise unknown individuals or to reconstruct faces of historical figures, such as the famous effort of reconstructing King Tut in 2005. There are many approaches to perform facial reconstruction in both two-dimensional (2-D) and three-dimensional (3-D). In 2-D cases, an artist works from photos of the skull and sketches the facial features based on his or her scientific training and artistic intuition. In 3-D cases, a skillful sculptor uses clay instead to reconstruct the face from the remains of the skull. However, this is a very tedious and time consuming process, often taking months to complete. Alternatively, one can use computer algorithms to mathematically calculate the facial surface. However, the lack of sophisticated algorithms and human interpretation can pose great challenges to the outcome. Almost all approaches are based on soft tissue thickness information that are published in various literatures. However, the thickness data are based on very limited subsets of the population without many ethnic representations. Furthermore, these datasets do not take into account of body mass abnormality. This poses a major problem to the accuracy of the facial appearance when 66% of the current US population being overweight. This thesis research is aimed to develop a baseline craniofacial geometry modeling algorithm using numerical geometry techniques to explore the feasibility and challenges in such an approach. A generic skull model is used for this study. Soft tissue thickness datasets used in this study were obtained from a female African American database and a Caucasian male dataset. Additional landmarks are manually added over the entire skull to form a mask surface that encloses the skull. To mimic the fat pad effect on the facial geometry, several landmarks were added near the Buccal fat pad area.

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