Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

From Handwritten Captchas to "Smart Rooms," Tech Solutions Start With Pattern Recognition

15.10.2010
Buy something online, enter your credit card number and mailing address. Simple. Then you come to the box with the CAPTCHA, the Completely Automated Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart. Here, the website attempts to confirm that you're a human, not some robot about to commit a cybercrime. You dutifully copy down the warped, watery-looking letters.

Incorrect. Another captcha appears. You try again. Also incorrect. A third captcha appears. You start rethinking your purchase.

University at Buffalo computer scientist Venu Govindaraju, who, along with his UB colleagues, pioneered machine recognition of human handwriting, believes that this annoying 21st-century problem has a decidedly old-fashioned solution: handwriting.

"Here at UB's Center for Unified Biometrics, we're the only ones who have proposed and thoroughly studied handwritten captchas," says Govindaraju. "Our perspective is that humans are good at reading handwriting, machines are not. It comes naturally to humans. But computer scientists typically consider handwriting a hopeless case, until someone comes along and shows them that it isn't."

Govindaraju should know. Research he and his UB colleagues conducted in the 1990s helped the U.S. Postal Service establish the first machines that could read handwritten addresses, a feat that many at the time -- especially in industry -- said simply could not be done. In 1996, after years of research, the UB research enabled the USPS to be able to start machine-reading of handwritten addresses, boosting efficiency and saving the agency millions of dollars each year.

Govindaraju believes a similar success can occur with captchas. One of his doctoral students at UB has graduated and was hired by Yahoo! on the basis of his work developing "simulated" handwritten captchas.

"We developed an archive that can automatically generate as many different styles of handwriting as we want," says Govindaraju.

The research is based on pattern recognition, a subfield of machine learning in computer science that is concerned with developing systems based on detecting patterns in data.

Similar issues are being studied by Govindaraju and his UB colleagues in order to develop "smart room" technologies, supported by an HP Labs Innovation Research award.

"Smart rooms" are indoor environments equipped with sensitive, but unobtrusive devices, such as cameras and microphones that can identify and track the movements and gestures of inhabitants for a broad range of applications, from providing supplemental supervision in assisted living facilities for the elderly or disabled, to monitoring office workplaces and retail establishments for security. Eventually, the goal is to extend "smart room" features to larger arenas, such as shopping centers, airports and other transportation centers.

Biometrics that CUBS researchers are studying for "smart room" applications include hand gestures as well as the more common biometrics of facial, voice and gait recognition.

"This, too, is all pattern recognition," Govindaraju says, "but instead of letters, here, we're trying to standardize gestures.

"It's like developing an alphabet of gestures so machines can be programmed to do gesture recognition. The idea is to control objects on a monitor without technology," he says.

Since its founding in 2003, CUBS has attracted approximately $10 million in federal and industry funding and has produced 17 doctoral-level graduates. The center advances machine learning and pattern recognition technologies to build engineered systems for both civilian and homeland security applications. It develops new methods for customizing devices that use data from physical biometrics, such as fingerprints, hand geometry and iris scans; behavioral biometrics, such as signature, voiceprint and gait; and chemical biometrics, such as DNA and body odor.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.

Ellen Goldbaum | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.buffalo.edu
http://www.buffalo.edu/news/11864

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Snake-inspired robot uses kirigami to move
22.02.2018 | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

nachricht Camera technology in vehicles: Low-latency image data compression
22.02.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Nachrichtentechnik, Heinrich-Hertz-Institut, HHI

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Attoseconds break into atomic interior

A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.

In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...

Im Focus: Good vibrations feel the force

A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.

By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Basque researchers turn light upside down

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator

23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Attoseconds break into atomic interior

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>