Competence Centre for Computer Methods in Handwriting

The intention of the competence centre is to establish a knowledge base for computer-aided systems supporting handwriting research. This knowledge centre pursues the following objectives:

  • Analysis of current development trends
  • Evaluation and choice of proper software for specific research purposes
  • Establishing a discussion to enable exchange and to provide a reference point
  • Coordination of development efforts by specialists and students

Handwriting Analysis Software

The handwriting analysis software includes two categories:

  • Fully automated handwriting analysis based on the processing of scanned specimens.
  • Hybrid systems that suppose the manual analysis of the text and evaluation of the handwriting signs as well as the computerised evaluation of psychological traits.

Automated Systems

The major development and application area is computer science. The handwriting part is typically not well designed, as it is still not possible to automatically evaluate an appropriate number of handwriting signs. That is why the developers restrict the systems to just a dozen of the most simple handwriting signs. Nevertheless, the further development may be interesting if the computer methods are capable of covering more handwriting features and prove themselves to be more reliable.

Selected systems

AHWAS Automated Handwriting Analysis System (National Institute for Technology in Mongalore, India)
CAG Computer-Aided Graphology (New-York University in Buffalo, USA)
CEDAR-FOX (New-York University in Buffalo, USA)

Hybrid-systems

Hybrid-systems are more focused on the handwriting part. They are as good as the built-in and programmed sets of handwriting signs as well as the psychological traits and the connections between them. The existing systems cover a wide spectrum, ranging from primitive to very complicated.

Selected Systems

HSDetect (Switzerland)
GraphoPro (Switzerland)
Handwriting Analyst (USA)
Handwriting Analyzer (USA)
Grafol (Spain)
GRAF-2000 (Italy)

Digitalizers

Digitalizers or graphics tables enable the registering of the writing process executed with a special stylus. The protocol includes measurements of pressure and speed. It also registers the movement direction on the surface of the tablet as well as in the air. The most popular digitalizers are those by Watcom. A special computer program evaluates the protocol. The quality of the analysis is mostly defined by the quality of the evaluating software.

Examples

CSWin (Science And Motion, Germany)
MovAlyzeR (NeuroScript, USA)
ComPET (Technion, Haifa, Israel)

Image Analysers

Image analysis software is mainly used in forensic applications. This kind of software is neither typically nor explicitly designed for handwriting research. However, the programs allow the exact measurement of different handwriting variables like size, distances and angles.

Selected systems

  • ImageJ, freeware (National Institute of Health, USA)
  • Gwyddion (Czech Metrology Institute)
  • GIMP, free open-source