Ultrasound has been trialed in biometric recognition systems for many years, and at present different types of ultrasound fingerprint readers are being produced and integrated in portable devices. An important merit of the ultrasound is its ability to image the internal structure of the hand, which can guarantee improved recognition rates and resistance to spoofing attacks. In addition, ambient noise like changes of illumination, humidity, or temperature, as well as oil or ink stains on the skin do not affect the ultrasound image. In this work, a palmprint recognition system based on ultrasound images is proposed and experimentally validated. The system uses a gel pad to obtain acoustic coupling between the ultrasound probe and the user’s hand. The collected volumetric image is processed to extract 2D palmprints at various under-skin depths. Features are extracted from one of these 2D palmprints using a line-based procedure. Recognition performances of the proposed system were evaluated by performing both verification and identification experiments on a home-made database containing 281 samples collected from 32 different volunteers. An equal error rate of 0.38% and an identification rate of 100% were achieved. These results are very satisfactory, even if obtained with a relatively small database. A discussion on the causes of bad acquisitions is also presented, and a possible solution to further optimize the acquisition system is suggested.
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