FINGERPRINT IMAGE ENHANCEMENT, SEGMENTATION AND MINUTIAE DETECTION
Abstract: Prior to 1960's, the fingerprint analysis was carried out manually by human experts and for forensic purposes only. Automated fingerprint identification systems (AFIS) have been developed during the last 50 years. The success of AFIS resulted in that its use expanded beyond forensic applications and became common also in civilian applications. Mobile phones and computers equipped with fingerprint sensing devices for fingerprint-based user identification are common today.Despite the intense development efforts, a major problem in automatic fingerprint identification is to acquire reliable matching features from fingerprint images with poor quality. Images where the fingerprint pattern is heavily degraded usually inhibit the performance of an AFIS system. The performance of AFIS systems is also reduced when matching fingerprints of individuals with large age variations.This doctoral thesis presents contributions within the field of fingerprint image enhancement, segmentation and minutiae detection. The reliability of the extracted fingerprint features is highly dependent on the quality of the obtained fingerprints. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to have access to high quality fingerprints. Therefore, prior to the feature extraction, an enhancement of the quality of fingerprints and a segmentation are performed. The segmentation separates the fingerprint pattern from the background and thus limits possible sources of error due to, for instance, feature outliers. Most enhancement and segmentation techniques are data-driven and therefore based on certain features extracted from the low quality fingerprints at hand. Hence, different types of processing, such as directional filtering, are employed for the enhancement. This thesis contributes by proposing new research both for improving fingerprint matching and for the required pre-processing that improves the extraction of features to be used in fingerprint matching systems.In particular, the majority of enhancement and segmentation methods proposed herein are adaptive to the characteristics of each fingerprint image. Thus, the methods are insensitive towards sensor and fingerprint variability. Furthermore, introduction of the higher order statistics (kurtosis) for fingerprint segmentation is presented. Segmentation of the fingerprint image reduces the computational load by excluding background regions of the fingerprint image from being further processed. Also using a neural network to obtain a more robust minutiae detector with a patch rejection mechanism for speeding up the minutiae detection is presented in this thesis.
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