Thermal imaging as a biometrics approach to facial signature authentication

Ana M. Guzman, Mohammed Goryawala, Jin Wang, Armando Barreto, Jean Andrian, Naphtali Rishe, Malek Adjouadi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


A new thermal imaging framework with unique feature extraction and similarity measurements for face recognition is presented. The research premise is to design specialized algorithms that would extract vasculature information, create a thermal facial signature, and identify the individual. The proposed algorithm is fully integrated and consolidates the critical steps of feature extraction through the use of morphological operators, registration using the Linear Image Registration Tool, and matching through unique similarity measures designed for this task. The novel approach at developing a thermal signature template using four images taken at various instants of time ensured that unforeseen changes in the vasculature over time did not affect the biometric matching process as the authentication process relied only on consistent thermal features. Thirteen subjects were used for testing the developed technique on an in-house thermal imaging system. The matching using the similarity measures showed an average accuracy of 88.46% for skeletonized signatures and 90.39% for anisotropically diffused signatures. The highly accurate results obtained in the matching process clearly demonstrate the ability of the thermal infrared system to extend in application to other thermal-imaging-based systems. Empirical results applying this approach to an existing database of thermal images prove this assertion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)214-222
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Journal of Biomedical and Health Informatics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Biometric
  • Face recognition
  • Image registration
  • Image segmentation
  • Thermal imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Health Information Management


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