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The blood vessel structure of the sclera is unique to each person, and it can be remotely obtained nonintrusively in the visible wavelengths. Therefore, it is well suited for human identification (ID). In this paper, we propose a new concept for human ID: sclera recognition. This is a challenging research problem because images of sclera vessel patterns are often defocused and/or saturated and, most importantly, the vessel structure in the sclera is multilayered and has complex nonlinear deformations. This paper has several contributions. First, we proposed the new approach for human ID: sclera recognition. Second, we developed a new method for sclera segmentation which works for both color and grayscale images. Third, we designed a Gabor wavelet-based sclera pattern enhancement method to emphasize and binarize the sclera vessel patterns. Finally, we proposed a line-descriptor-based feature extraction, registration, and matching method that is illumination, scale, orientation, and deformation invariant and can mitigate the multilayered deformation effects and tolerate segmentation error. The experimental results show that sclera recognition is a promising new biometrics for positive human ID.
Systems, Man and Cybernetics, Part A: Systems and Humans, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:42 , Issue: 3 )
Date of Publication: May 2012