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Dinesh F? Mital, Choo Pee Hin, and Wee Kee Leng
ABSTRACT: The fine structure of the muscIc forces that are exerted during the writing of a signature is consistent and well defined for most people. Based on this observation, an experimental system that utilizes a person’s signature waveform dynamics for identification has been proposed. The system is intended to be used for on-line signature verification. It can successfully verify a person’s identity and can also detect forgeries. The acceptance rate for random forgeries, i.e., accidental matching of two different persons’ signatures, is very low. generate electric signals representative of the signature during the signing process -. There have been mixed results using these techniques. The algorithms have been complex, which discourages microprocessor implementation and on-line applications. However, a major advantage of this approach is that signature verification is based on the dynamics of the signature, which are not visible and, therefore, are very difficult to forge or copy. In this respect, a static image of the signature on a card or document is almost useless to the forger, because the dynamics of the forged signature are usually completely different from that of the true signature. This paper describes an on-line signature verification system based on pressure waveform measurements. The algorithm is based on extracting features from the signals generated by the instrumented pen. The advantages of this method are computational efficiency, minimal reference or template storage per user (typically, 75-100 samples), and easy accommodation in a low-cost, stand-alone microprocessor system. The verification time is also very low (4-6 sec). More sophisticated verification systems 161 may yield somewhat higher performance but their practical implementation is very difficult. The system presented here has already been tested with excellent results. The block diagram of the verification system is shown in Fig. 1. tor, reference file, and decision logic. The most striking aspect of signature dynamics is that the time interval for writing a signature, measured from start to finish, remains remarkably consistent. The time for successive signatures frequently differs by as little as 10 msec. Variation in signature dynamics does take place as years pass, but this change can be handled by dynamic updating of the records. Even muscle pressure variation on the writing surface is consistent during the signature process. Based on this consistency, we propose an automatic verification scheme using these concepts. The complete process of verification consists of the following four parts. (The interested reader is referred to - for more detailed mathematical treatment .)
With the development of widely dispersed networks of computer terminals, automatic tellers, and data banks. there has been a corresponding increase in computer crime and a growing need to protect sensitive information. An important aspect of the problem is personal identification, that is, the ability to ensure that only authorized people get access to computer resources. A method of personal identification that cannot be lost, stolen. or forgotten is required for control of computer access, building access. or automated banking. An effective method of online signature verification will have many important applications. Because the signature is the normal and customary method of identifying an individual, it has many natural advantages over other techniques such as fingerprints or voice verification. There has been considerable research in signature verification [ 1]-, and, basically, there are two ways to obtain such a representation. One way is to scan the signature optically after it has been written. This technique is similar to optical character recognition. However, the optical scanning method is costly and time-consuming, and is not suitable for real-time applications. A more attractive and useful approach is to Presented at the 1987 IEEE International Conference on Systems. Man, and Cybernetics, Alexandria. Virginia, October 20-23, 1987. Dinesh P. Mital is a staff member of the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. Nanyang Technological Institute, Singapore. Choo Pee Hin and Wee Kee Leng are working with Housing Development Board Corporation and Real Time Systems. Inc.. Singapore. respectively.
Time interval for writing signature. For decision making, a duration variation of 10-15 percent is permitted. The nominal time for a signature is taken to be 4.0 sec. Number of pressure peaks in signature.
In [SI, it was shown that the number of pressure peaks and valleys are well defined in a signature. The number of peaks along with the mean and standard values is selected as another important feature for the verification criterion.
Distance measure o f peaks and valleys. Distance measure refers to the difference
in coordinates between the peaks and valleys. This criterion involves dividing the waveforms into segments of different lengths according to the peaks and valleys found in the waveforms. This cri-
Signature Verification Technique
A general signature verification system consists of four parts: transducer, compara-
a + 9
Scanner and preprocessor
Processing _ j Verification
Fig. 1. Block diagram of an automatic verification system.
0272-170818810600-0054 $01 00
0 1988 IEEE
IEEE Control Systems Mogozine
the correlation algorithm must be able to verify within a few seconds. (valley) -True signature cumulative distribution function. The function of MAIN is to create a user-friendly environment and coordinate activities among various modules. (2) Devise a file system to store captured 5 data. For an on-line and interactive verification system. the second task is to activate ADC to convert the analog pressure waveform into discrete form. The SIU is the interface between the computer and the on-line acquisition system. Functions of a few of the important subprogram modules are described here briefly. The algorithm uses the proposed verification criterion for waveform correlation. the More Than Cumulative Distribution Function of data gathered from forgeries is plotted. The threshold is set to maximize the percentage acceptance of true signatures and. A typical plot and threshold setting for one of the verification parameters are shown in Fig. Area difference Fig. whenever necessary. After the person has entered the PIN number correctly. I (1) Capture sampled values of the signature waveform followed by simple data processing. overlapping segments can be used as an alternative. Fig. 2. /=3 J = l (5) Create a data base for storing and retrieving. Computer-generated outputs for the signature waveform and for one of the verification parameters are shown in Figs. To maximize the percentage acceptance of true signatures. Vallej row is the difference in the row coordinates of all the valleys between a sample signature and a reference signature. The first task of the routine is to initialize the COMI module. menu-driven program MAIN. (3) Process data using a correlation algorithm to match the reference signature waveform. whenever necessary. the Less Than Cumulative Distribution Function of data is gathered from true signatures. a signature request will be made. June 1988 55 . The on-line acquisition system is the terminal by which the end user enters the system. the system can accept approximately 75. It handles bidirectional information flow between the two functional units. the hardware of the system may be partitioned into three main subsystems. It comprises the pressure transducer charge amplifier (to capture the signature). The objective is to maximize both functions.100 samples over a 5-sec period. to maximize the rejection of forgeries. Pressure waveform of a signature. or PIN number. Valley column is the difference in the column coordinates of the two signatures. On the average. The microcomputer selected for this system is the IBM-PCIAT. slopes. Threshold setting. = 96. Research work currently in progress will be required for optimal selection of the threshold values of these verification parameters.tenon is composed of four submeasures. and liquid-crystaldisplay and light-emitting-diode modules (status indicators). 125 20 System Software The software was developed to implement the following six functions: Threshold Setting Threshold setting is done individually for all the verification parameters. respectively. Similarly. (6) Plot waveforms. This method of waveform correlation is well known and gives good results. 3. -Forgery CDF Fig. 80 70 -Y 5 5 - - ___- I 0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 4000 Deviation in column coord. These threshold values are the maximum allowable tolerances in verification parameters during the verification process. Threshold setting (third criterion) Submeasure Valleykolumn 100 (2) On-Line Acquisition System. This type of threshold is determined for all the verification parameters. (4) Area measure between peaks and vall e y . This was necessary because the piezoelectric transducer responds to dynamic pressure variations. and (3) System Interface Unit (SIU). (1) Microcomputer as Central Controller. 4.42 J I Datu Cupture Subprogram The task of this subroutine is to capture the signature waveform. 2. (4) Report various status messages. which was wired for bipolar operation. at the same time. For each signature Area difference of two rising System Hardware From a functional point of view. the key pad (PIN entry). the system would first ask for a personal identification number. Area measure refers to the difference between slopes or segments between a peak and a valley. which accepts data transfer at 600 bps. Peak row and peak column are defined similarly. The sample values are concatenated to form a character string. A piezoelectric transducer was used to sense the pressure waveform and a charge amplifier was used for signal conditioning. This criterion was developed using the principle of segmentation and correlation. At the center of the software domain of the system is the on-line. giving bipolar readings. This curve gives the percentage of the signees having signatures with parameter variation less than the nominal value. 3 and 4 . To identify a person. to maximize the percentage rejection of forgeries. The analog-to-digital conversion (ADC) circuitry was centered on the ZN488 8-bit successive approximation chip. T o improve performance.
distance measure of peaks and valleys. Drift1 PI'OC. If the parameter values are above tol- erance values. If the difference in verification parameters is within tolerance values. 200 signatures were collected from SO volunteers.60 Area Measure of Sample  Signature Accepted Nominal Threshold Values Signature Time Variation 15 Percent of Nominal Value 15 Percent of Difference in PeaksiValleys Nominal Value Other Values Are Specified in Brackets Along with Measured Values I € € € Control Systems Mogorine . o r to add a new signature to the data b a x For the latter application. to update the signature records. Fig.Best-fit reference -Trial-run signature =Trial-run signatures Fig. sec Time Duration of Reference. A rejected person may be given a maximum of three chances. 5 . standard deviation. three reference waveforms are needed. Reference signature wavefomsforged signature. each individual was asked to sign four times to provide sample signatures needed for the reference data base.ignature data base. 6. The criterion of correlation is based on the tollowing verification parameters.50 9 9 936. the person is rejected. number of peaks in the signature. The access is through PIN number.qrrm~ . Forgers were also encouraged. The new verification ?. as shown in Table 1. This subprogram p e t f o r n i ~correlation between two wavefornis. In Fig. but part of an attempt t o exercise the verification scheme vigorously. described previously: time int e n d lor a signature. each individual was asked to sign again for verification.reference. A forger may try to copy the visible sig- Table 1 Correlation Results of True Signature Correlation Session Date: 02-05. the nornial values of verification paraineter\ are calculated and stored in the . As an option-to improve performance-the featurelike mean.nieten are compared with storcd values. This routine is called t o perfomi a best-fit reference uaveforni o r to prepare a signature for correlation u ith the be\t-fit reference. and area measure between peaks and valleys. Peaks in Sample No. To simulate a real application environment. 5 .qI'cllll 0 0 1 2 3 -10 Time scale (sec) 0 1 2 Time scale (sec) 3 The menu option i h used t t i obtain a graphic plot of the reference \ignature.lr. and the number of zero crossings of a third verification parameter maq be used.I'll q I ?1 This subprogram reforniats the record\ of a person into a fomi witable for funher data processing.50 135. and the test parameters will be updated for future use. 30 20 10 Dutrr Cot1\Yrf s l l b / J I ' ~ J .~\.ipnature i'r required.2.~lll .80 Experimental Results For the experimental system. an additional . In subsequent sessions.00 102. Reference signature pressure waveforms Reference signature pressure waveforms 50 40 Rrwirrl Fetch Subprogrrrtn The task of this routine is to retrieve appropriate records from the data base.lCIlll Slrt?/?ro.\ ~~ihpro. sec No. three reterence signatures are required. The systcm could verify true indibidual signatures without any failure. From four sample signatures. Figures 5 and 6 provide output waveforms lor a true signature (average) and a best torgecl 5ignature. Peaks in Reference Distance Distance Distance Distance [Valley (Row)] [Valley (Col)] [Peak (Row)] [Peak (Col)]  [5001  2100 2.00 803. 2. o/l~.00 [5001 79. pressure waveforms of a person's true signatures are plotted. Reference signature waveformtrue signature. the person is accepted by the system. When this person wants a c ~ ' e \ \ this system again. Critical cases are asked to sign again. respectively. The forgeries were not casual.1987 Time: 16:03:56 Account Number Time Duration of Sample.
" IEEE Trans. from 1976 to 1983. Syst.lop. 245. Pur:. Syst. the forgers could never come close to the true signature verification parameters. Dayton. no. 7. robotics. Thereafter. 6 .. Muti. "Waveform Feature Extraction Based o n Tauberian Approximation. H. Of course." IEEE Trun. no. Lin. C. The on-line system was able to identify true signatures and forgeries without error. May 1977. in 1970 and 1974. In fact. 2. India. Acknowledgments True signatures Forged signatures Fig.. Cyberri." IEEE Trutis. during our testing session. De Figueiredo and C-L. During testing.. Y-C. 1984. a forger's pressure waveforms are shown. May 1985. Herbst. Mar. the two people will have difTerent PIN numbers. 7 9 3049. for providing facilities for carrying out the project.OO 3299. Lin.c. Singapore. SMC-13. as an Advanced Development Engineer.0 5012. "Experimental Investigation of Automatic Signature Verification. Muti. New York. Sysr. PAMI-7. Aiiu/y.. no forger could break into the system. which is difficult to forge. sec No. by accident. Anthony. M. Herbst.Table 2 Correlation Results of Forged Signature Correlation Session Date: 02-05-1987 Time: 16:24: 16 Account Number Time Duration of Sample. The authors would like to thank Professor Brian Lee.S. F. 2 . 1982. A n d y . France 1984. he worked as Assistant ProfessoriProfessor at University of Roorkee. The nominal verification parameter values for the forged signature are shown in Table 2. Kanpur. and N . Nemcek and W. Some samples of true and forged signatures are shown in Fig. Lin and N. no. Currently. but the forger can never get close to the nominal parameter values of the dynamic pressure of the true signature waveform. Nanyang Technological Institute. Conclusion This paper describes an on-line signature verification system used to identify a person. Despite many intrinsic human-factor problems.31 Area Measure of Sample  Signature Rejected nature. P. degrees from the State University of New York.'' IEEE Truti. Dean. vol. vol. and Ph. He has published over 40 technical papers in related areas. Roorkee.\. An important aspect of the verification technique is that it depends on the dynamic pressure of the signature waveform. Lu.D. Hu.. and artificial intelligence. Crane and J . Y. he is working as a Senior Lecturer at Nanyang Technological Institute. vol. in 1968. Ohio. In Fig.. Cyberti. 1979. Ostrem. Purr. A person with the wrong identity is given a maximum of three chances before access is denied. no. no.. 1974. It is our belief that this verification technique will work for signatures in any language. with a total of 200 signatures collected from 50 individuals. "Automatic Signature Verification Using a Three-Axis Force Sensitive Pen. degree in electrical engineering from IIT.50 grateful to the Applied Research Fund for providing financial assistance." IEEE Trms. N . . "On-Line Handwritten Signature Recognition Based on Data-Analysis and Clustering. MaylJune 1983. he received the M. Man. N. The one-time enrollment session requires three reference signatures and lasts about 30 sec.33 2. vol. Stony Brook. 3. Thereafter. SMC-9. one person's verification parameters may come within the tolerance range of another person's parameters. Mar. However. I . Atiuly. Therefore. Machitic. June 1988 57 . EEE. Cyberti. J . he worked for NCR Corporation. Res. J . p." IEEE Trutis. The probability of matching the PIN number as well as the nominal parameter values is quite low. Cheng and S-Y. 3 . "A Tree-Matching Algorithm Based on Node Splitting and Merging. Lu. the forgery will never be accepted by the system.Tech." Laboratorie de Genie Eletrique de Creteil. References G. which are completely different than the true signature waveform in Fig. "Automatic Signature Verification Based on Accelerometry. The verification algorithm has been simplified. W. C. vol. 7. M. lrircJll. Peaks in Reference Distance Distance Dimnce Distance [Valley (Row)] (Valley (Col)] [Peak (Row)] [Peak (Col)]     2100 3. respectively. vol. His current areas of research include microprocessor applications. Machine Intell." IBM J. N.OO 4 167 . PAMI-6. Samples of true and forged signatures. we believe our performance figures are sufficiently encouraging to indicate the feasibility of signature verification as a means of personal identification. Mital received the B. S .. Jan. Peaks in Sample No. Universite Paris. The signature verification technique is coupled with a personal identification number. Creteil. sec Time Duration of Reference. India. in such cases. Det. Lorrette. Jan. D. S . 21. Mudiitie Iritc41. digital controls.25 624 1 . Putt.7. The system was tested over a six-week period. PAMI-4. "Automatic Signature Verification: System Description and Field Test Results. The authors are also Dinesh P. 5.. "Wavefomi Correlation by Tree Matching. so that it is possible to verify a signature in approximately 4-5 sec. C. From 1974 to 1976.
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