H-unique will be the first multimodal automated interrogation of visible hand anatomy, through analysis and interpretation of human variation. It will be an interdisciplinary project, supported by anatomists, anthropologists, geneticists, bioinformaticians, image analysts and computer scientists. We will investigate inherent and acquired variation in search of uniqueness, as the hand retains and displays a multiplicity of anatomical variants formed by different aetiologies (genetics, development, environment, accident etc).
Hard biometrics, such as fingerprints, are well understood and some soft biometrics are gaining traction within both biometric and forensic domains (e.g. superficial vein pattern, skin crease pattern, morphometry, scars, tattoos and pigmentation pattern). A combinatorial approach of soft and hard biometrics has not been previously attempted from images of the hand. We will pioneer the development of new methods that will release the full extent of variation locked within the visible anatomy of the human hand and reconstruct its discriminatory profile as a retro-engineered multimodal biometric. A significant step change is required in the science to both reliably and repeatably extract and compare anatomical information from large numbers of images especially when the hand is not in a standard position or when either the resolution or lighting in the image is not ideal.
Large datasets are vital for this work to be legally admissible. Through citizen engagement with science, this research will collect images from over 5,000 participants, creating an active, open source, ground-truth dataset. It will examine and address the effects of variable image conditions on data extraction and will design algorithms that permit auto-pattern searching across large numbers of stored images of variable quality. This will provide a major novel breakthrough in the study of anatomical variation, with wide-ranging, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary impact.
Fields of science
Funding SchemeERC-ADG - Advanced Grant
LA1 4YW Lancaster
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DD1 4HN Dundee
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