3D Printing on Almost Human

The Almost Human season finale included 3D printing as a key element of the story. The episode “Perception” also included a 3D printer as a central issue.

3D Printers were the table decorations at The Geekie Awards.
3D Printers were the table decorations at The Geekie Awards.

We actually are seeing 3D printer cases today. 3D printing is the “additive manufacturing process of making a three-dimensional object of virtually any shape from a digital model.”
Ronald Barranco & Print3d Corp. v. 3d Sys. Corp., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25935 (D. Haw. 2014). See also Ritani, LLC v. Aghjayan, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130600 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 31, 2013) and DSM Desotech, Inc. v. 3D Sys. Corp., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13017, 6-7 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 31, 2013).

The villain in the season finale was kidnapping people and leaving a replica of their body that was created by a 3D printer. As the 3D printer could not print internal organs, the bodies were left full of straw. The motive for leaving this “scarecrow” was no one looks for a missing person if there is a dead body. The victims were then subjected to medical experiments involving robotic implants as human test subjects.

DRN_CrimeList_8754The bad guy committed a whole boatload of crimes. The majority of these crimes would have a significant amount of electronically stored information as evidence, from the parts created to the medical experiments. All of these data would need to be forensically collected for trial. Moreover, the evidence would be in key in freeing the wrongly convicted “patsy.” (Note, this probably would take longer than a few hours, but it is nice to imagine an innocence project working that quickly).

An interesting issue would be the dumping of straw filed dead bodies that were not actually dead bodies, because they were 3D printings of human bodies. A Court likely would find these 3D printed bodies legally would be a “dead body” because of the printing was a replica of a human body, despite having flat feet. As such, the villain could be charged with the improper disposal of human remains, even though the human remains were not actually human. A Court would likely look to the effect of the printing on someone who finds it, which meets the genetic requirements for fooling a DNA test.

AH_Crime_8655I truly hope Almost Human is renewed for another season.  Karl Urban and Michael Ealy had amazing chemistry together as the odd couple who become friends. The way the characters interacted was simply gold. Moreover, the world of Almost Human was a beautiful tribute to multiple science fiction stories. Additionally, this was perhaps the only science fiction show that tried to follow criminal procedure and acknowledged Constitutional rights. Job well done to the team and hope to see them in the fall.

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Josh Gilliland
Josh Gilliland is a California attorney who focuses his practice on eDiscovery. Josh is the co-creator of The Legal Geeks, which has made the ABA Journal Top Blawg 100 Blawg for 2013 to 2016, and was nominated for Best Podcast for the 2015 Geekie Awards. Josh has presented at legal conferences and comic book conventions across the United States. He also ties a mean bow tie.