Tokyo police have been using 3D printing to create full color 3D models of wanted criminals to help them track down fugitives on the run, models of crime scenes and replicas of weapons to be used as evidence.
In this instance they created a 3D model of Takahashi Katsuya who has been wanted in connection to the Sarin gas attacks in the Tokyo Subway system in 1995. The 3D print of the fugitive who had evaded police for 17 years was shown on national Japanese television and was captured soon after, though not as a direct result of the footage.
Researchers at Rutgers are also testing 3D printing faces as a way to help diagnose schizophrenia. The researchers are finding thatpeople susceptible to schizophrenia are not fooled by a common optical illusion. By 3D printing a face with a concave, instead of convex face, most people will not see the face as being concave, but will see the eyes of the face following them in a creepy way. People with schizophrenia just see a creepy inside out face.
The physical model was probably just used as an attention grabber - at least to me it does
not even appear more lifelike than the (so obviously approximate) police sketch. Add to that the assumption that both must be based on the same limited data..