Robust End-to-End Hand Identification via Holistic Multi-Unit Knuckle Recognition

Vyas, Ritesh and Rahmani, Hossein and Boswell-Challand, Ricki and Angelov, Plamen and Black, S. and Williams, Bryan (2021) Robust End-to-End Hand Identification via Holistic Multi-Unit Knuckle Recognition. In: International Joint Conference on Biometrics (IJCB-2021). 2021 IEEE International Joint Conference on Biometrics, IJCB 2021 . IEEE, Shenzhen, China, pp. 1-8. ISBN 9781665437813

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In many cases of serious crime, images of a hand can be the only evidence available for the forensic identification of the offender. As well as placing them at the scene, such images and video evidence offer proof of the offender committing the crime. The knuckle creases of the human hand have emerged as an effective biometric trait and been used to identify the perpetrators of child abuse in forensic investigations. However, manual utilization of knuckle creases for identification is highly time consuming and can be subjective, requiring the expertise of experienced forensic anthropologists whose availability is very limited. Hence, there arises a need for an automated approach for localization and comparison of knuckle patterns. In this paper, we present a fully automatic end-to-end approach which localizes the minor, major and base knuckles in images of the hand, and effectively uses them for identification achieving state-of-the-art results. This work improves on existing approaches and allows us to strengthen cases further by objectively combining multiple knuckles and knuckle types to obtain a holistic matching result for comparing two hands. This yields a stronger and more robust multi-unit biometric and facilitates the large-scale examination of the potential of knuckle-based identification. Evaluated on two large landmark datasets, the proposed framework achieves equal error rates (EER) of 1.0-1.9%, rank-1 accuracies of 99.3-100% and decidability indices of 5.04-5.83. We make the full results available via a novel online GUI to raise awareness with the general public and forensic investigators about the identifiability of various knuckle regions. These strong results demonstrate the value of our holistic approach to hand identification from knuckle patterns and their utility in forensic investigations.

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07 Oct 2022 15:10
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03 Nov 2023 01:22