We propose a novel biometric recognition method that identifies the inner knuckle print (IKP). It is robust enough to confront uncontrolled lighting conditions, pose variations and low imaging quality. Such robustness is crucial for its application on portable devices equipped with consumer-level cameras. We achieve this robustness by two means. First, we propose a novel feature extraction scheme that highlights the salient structure and suppresses incorrect and/or unwanted features. The extracted IKP features retain simple geometry and morphology and reduce the interference of illumination. Second, to counteract the deformation induced by different hand orientations, we propose a novel structure-context descriptor based on local statistics. To our best knowledge, we are the first to simultaneously consider the illumination invariance and deformation tolerance for appearance-based low-resolution hand biometrics. Settings in previous works are more restrictive. They made strong assumptions either about the illumination condition or the restrictive hand orientation. Extensive experiments demonstrate that our method outperforms the state-of-the-art methods in terms of recognition accuracy, especially under uncontrolled lighting conditions and the flexible hand orientation requirement.
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