Unconstrained Iris Recognition




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De Montfort University


Thesis or dissertation

Peer reviewed


This research focuses on iris recognition, the most accurate form of biometric identification. The robustness of iris recognition comes from the unique characteristics of the human, and the permanency of the iris texture as it is stable over human life, and the environmental effects cannot easily alter its shape. In most iris recognition systems, ideal image acquisition conditions are assumed. These conditions include a near infrared (NIR) light source to reveal the clear iris texture as well as look and stare constraints and close distance from the capturing device. However, the recognition accuracy of the-state-of-the-art systems decreases significantly when these constraints are relaxed. Recent advances have proposed different methods to process iris images captured in unconstrained environments. While these methods improve the accuracy of the original iris recognition system, they still have segmentation and feature selection problems, which results in high FRR (False Rejection Rate) and FAR (False Acceptance Rate) or in recognition failure. In the first part of this thesis, a novel segmentation algorithm for detecting the limbus and pupillary boundaries of human iris images with a quality assessment process is proposed. The algorithm first searches over the HSV colour space to detect the local maxima sclera region as it is the most easily distinguishable part of the human eye. The parameters from this stage are then used for eye area detection, upper/lower eyelid isolation and for rotation angle correction. The second step is the iris image quality assessment process, as the iris images captured under unconstrained conditions have heterogeneous characteristics. In addition, the probability of getting a mis-segmented sclera portion around the outer ring of the iris is very high, especially in the presence of reflection caused by a visible wavelength light source. Therefore, quality assessment procedures are applied for the classification of images from the first step into seven different categories based on the average of their RGB colour intensity. An appropriate filter is applied based on the detected quality. In the third step, a binarization process is applied to the detected eye portion from the first step for detecting the iris outer ring based on a threshold value defined on the basis of image quality from the second step. Finally, for the pupil area segmentation, the method searches over the HSV colour space for local minima pixels, as the pupil contains the darkest pixels in the human eye. In the second part, a novel discriminating feature extraction and selection based on the Curvelet transform are introduced. Most of the state-of-the-art iris recognition systems use the textural features extracted from the iris images. While these fine tiny features are very robust when extracted from high resolution clear images captured at very close distances, they show major weaknesses when extracted from degraded images captured over long distances. The use of the Curvelet transform to extract 2D geometrical features (curves and edges) from the degraded iris images addresses the weakness of 1D texture features extracted by the classical methods based on textural analysis wavelet transform. Our experiments show significant improvements in the segmentation and recognition accuracy when compared to the-state-of-the-art results.



Pattern Recognition



Research Institute