A Deep Learning Paradigm for Fingerprint Recognition: Harnessing U-Net Architecture for Fingerprint Enhancement and Representation Learning

Ekta Gavas


Biometric technology has long relied on fingerprint recognition as a trusted means of identity verification. While fingerprint enhancement shares similarities with general image denoising tasks, the unique properties of biometric data make it crucial to treat fingerprints differently from typical realworld images. Deep learning methods have the capacity to capture and improve complex patterns and subtle details in fingerprint data, offering a comprehensive solution. This thesis proposes a deep learning-based method, specifically leveraging the U-Net architecture to achieve superior fingerprint enhancement. At its core, the approach employs a multi-task deep network with domain knowledge from minutia and orientation fields for the enhancement of rolled and plain fingerprint images. We investigate different configurations of the U-Net architecture, examine the effects of various architectural elements, and present extensive experimental evidence to support the effectiveness of our proposed approach. Subsequently, we explore a self-supervised learning paradigm with fingerprint biometrics for robust feature representation learning. In this direction, we introduce a pre-training technique by utilizing the learned information from the enhancement task. We adopt the enhancement pre-trained encoder for learning fixed-length fingerprint embeddings. We evaluate the performance of the learned embeddings in the verification task compared to standard self-supervised techniques without the explicit need for enhanced fingerprints. By merging the capabilities of deep learning with the specificity of fingerprint features, the proposed paradigm offers significant improvements in the robustness and accuracy of fingerprint verification. Experimental evaluations on standard benchmarks such as the NIST and FVC datasets demonstrate the efficacy of this approach. We present compelling evidence that our methodology not only improves the quality of fingerprint images but also facilitates a more effective embedding extraction, ultimately leading to enhanced recognition performance. This work highlights the promising role that deep learning, tailored to biometrics, can play in advancing the field of fingerprint recognition. In addition, it opens up avenues for future research in biometrics, particularly in optimizing computational efficiency and in tackling challenges related to partial and distorted fingerprints.

Year of completion:  February 2024
 Advisor : Anoop M Namboodiri

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