Thanks to Researchers at University College London, computers can now copy a human writing and replicate it accurately. The researchers at the university simply created an algorithm that can take a sample handwritten text, examine its qualities and then write it in the same style. The system has been named as My Text in Your Handwriting and has already replicated samples of handwritten text from historical figures including Abraham Lincoln and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes. Thanks to the system we now have an ‘Elementary, my dear Watson’ handwritten text, written in Conan Doyle handwriting, though he never wrote such a statement.
The first step that the system does is to collect data, basically handwritten text, and analyze it. This step has two parts, One is tagging, which gives the system a sample of a handwriting style and then it needs a human to let it know which character means what. After that, the system will look through its database of similarly written text from others. It then calculates the layout of the text, basically how far apart letters are and their vertical and horizontal placement. Ligatures are used if the author joins his letter such as in cursive writing. The final step is texture, and that practically is to replicate the writing utensil, such as how a marker will have thicker darker lines, while a pencil will produce thinner lighter colored line.
The system can be useful in a number of ways. One is when banks send out new credit cards or sensitive documents and wish to disguise the letter so that they look like handwritten personal letters. It would be hard for a person to differentiate a human handwriting with the system’s. Another use is in a personal message that is inserted with flowers or presents and sent by delivery firms. Most people will definitely prefer a ‘genuine handwritten ‘Happy Birthday’ than something typed on a card. You might think that criminals will attempt forging signatures using the system, but the researchers have noted that a close examination using microscope will reveal a hand-written text by a human being and a machine-generated text.
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