Evidence-Based VR From ESi Reveals Truth In Tragic Faulty Elevator Case

Evidence-Based VR From ESi Reveals Truth In Tragic Faulty Elevator Case

With VR, it’s possible to recreate a scene with data-driven precision and clarity, increasing focus on the key facts or elements of a case. VR provides a first-person point-of-view that accounts for the physical characteristics, position, perspective and motion of one or more individuals or objects in a scene. This ensures that stakeholders have a better understanding of what happened and when, they can appreciate the point of view and actions of the individuals involved and determine whether certain events are plausible given the available evidence.

In a case that recently settled for an undisclosed amount, ESi developed a VR application to investigate events surrounding the tragic death of a young boy who accidentally became trapped inside the family’s home elevator system. Because this was an unwitnessed event, the Plaintiff’s legal team, led by attorney Andy Cash, had to focus on the geometry of the elevator system in relation to the child’s size, among other important forensic investigation data points. They needed a way to determine and ultimately show how the boy interacted with the elevator system.

“VR provided us with the unequivocal answer that our client’s son did, in fact, die because of a serious design flaw in the family’s home elevator system,” said Andy Cash, partner at Cash, Krugler & Fredericks. “When adults look at the gap that the boy discovered and became trapped in, it may look deceivingly small. However, when you have the elevator shaft and carriage accurately recreated digitally, and appreciate it from the perspective of the boy, you quickly understand how this tragedy occurred. This is a difficult and painful subject. However, by partnering with ESi for evidence-based VR, we understand what really happened, and we can work to prevent further injuries or deaths.”

ESi’s team was led by Principal Dennis Brickman (engineer and expert in consumer product design, manufacturing and safety) and litigation visualization pioneer Dr. Chuck Fox, senior managing consultant and director of ESi’s visualization practice group.

“I am grateful my scientific research has provided insight into what happened and why, and hope this understanding will lead to awareness about potential risks these elevators may pose for some children, and action to prevent a similar tragedy from happening to another family,” said Dennis Brickman, Principal at ESi.

“VR is taking fact-based visuals to another level by sharing perspectives of those involved in an event and offering viewers the ability to move around in an immersive virtual environment at a real-world 1:1 scale,” said Dr. Chuck Fox, senior managing consultant and director of ESi’s visualization practice group. “VR can play an important role in forensic investigations like the elevator case. In cases where viewpoints are important, VR is a must. Allowing our clients to experience witness views, enter confined spaces—perhaps spaces that could not safely be entered physically—provides powerful insights. These unique points of view can be generated quickly and efficiently using VR.”

“We are committed to applying cutting-edge scientific and engineering investigative technology to every appropriate client assignment,” Mike Stevenson, chairman and CEO of ESi, added. “I’m proud of our team’s work on this project and see it as a positive driver in the push for improved child safety in homes with elevator systems.”