Scale-Space Methods as a means of Fingerprint Image Enhancement (Computer Project)

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The usage of automatic fingerprint identification systems as a means of identification and/or verification have increased substantially during the last couple of years. It is well known that small deviations may occur within a fingerprint over time, a problem referred to as template ageing.

This problem, and other reasons for deviations between two images of the same fingerprint, complicates the identification/verification process, since distinct features may appear somewhat different in the two images that are matched. Commonly used to try and minimise this type of problem are different kinds of fingerprint image enhancement algorithms. This thesis tests different methods within the scale-space framework and evaluate their performance as fingerprint image enhancement methods.

The methods tested within this thesis ranges from linear scale-space filtering, where no prior information about the images is known, to scalar and tensor driven diffusion where analysis of the images precedes and controls the diffusion process.

The linear scale-space approach is shown to improve correlation values, which was anticipated since the image structure is flattened at coarser scales. There is however no increase in the number of accurate matches, since inaccurate features also tends to get higher correlation value at large scales.

The nonlinear isotropic scale-space (scalar dependent diffusion), or the edge- preservation, approach is proven to be an ill fit method for fingerprint image enhancement. This is due to the fact that the analysis of edges may be unreliable, since edge structure is often distorted in fingerprints affected by the template ageing problem.

The nonlinear anisotropic scale-space (tensor dependent diffusion), or coherence-enhancing, method does not give any overall improvements of the number of accurate matches. It is however shown that for a certain type of template ageing problem, where the deviating structure does not significantly affect the ridge orientation, the nonlinear anisotropic diffusion is able to accurately match correlation pairs that resulted in a false match before they were enhanced.
Source: Linköping University
Author: Larsson, Karl

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