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New Computer Program Replicates Handwriting

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The handwriting of author Arthur Conan Doyle, above, and a computer's mimicking of his writing style.

University College London researchers have developed software that can analyze and recreate a person's handwriting.

Credit: UCL News

Researchers at University College London (UCL) have developed software that can analyze and mimic a person's handwriting.

They say the "My Text in Your Handwriting" program examines a sample of a person's handwriting and uses that data to generate a new text in the same handwritten style.

The machine-learning algorithm learns an individual's pattern of writing and replicates the author's specific character choices, pen-line texture, the connecting strokes between characters, and spacing.

The researchers tested the program's accuracy by asking people to distinguish between handwritten envelopes and ones forged by the software, and people were fooled by the software 40% of the time.

"Our software has lots of valuable applications," says UCL's Tom Haines. "Stroke victims, for example, may be able to formulate letters without the concern of illegibility, or someone sending flowers as a gift could include a handwritten note without even going into the florist."

Although the method could be used to forge documents, UCL's Gabriel Brostow says it also could help detect forgeries by quantifying the odds that something was forged.

From UCL News
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