Monday, August 16, 2004

The pen is mightier, or quicker, than the eye, er, the sword

Handwriting Analysis Goes 3D (full content requires registration)

(Science NOW - David Grimm - 13 Aug 2004)

Forgers beware. A new technique that uses three-dimensional holograms to analyze handwriting samples exposes writing characteristics that forgers can't fake. ...

Er, not to be pessimistic, but shouldn't they say forgers "can't fake" it *until* they get the same technology and just learn the written topography? I'd hate to see Science Magazine indulge in some uncritical scientistic triumphalism. Wouldn't you?

Traditionally, forensic handwriting experts have tried to spot forgeries by analyzing the sequence of pen strokes used by the author to create a word. But experts often have a hard time discerning these "stroke dynamics," especially if a skilled forger is at work.

Scientists at the Università degli Studi “Roma Tre” in Rome tried to improve on existing techniques by using a hologram generator that creates 3D images of writing samples. ... [T]he device transforms seemingly flat letters into landscapes of hills and valleys that reveal the pressure and stroke sequence used to create each word. For example, when strokes made with a ballpoint pen cross each other, the second stroke forms a bump over the first.

No comments: