Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Electrical and Computer Engineering (Engineering)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Mohamed Abdel-Mottaleb

Second Committee Member

Kamal Premaratne

Third Committee Member

Akmal A. Younis

Fourth Committee Member

Anil K. Jain

Fifth Committee Member

Hanqi Zhuang


We propose three biometric systems for performing 1) Multi-modal Three-Dimensional (3D) ear + Two-Dimensional (2D) face recognition, 2) 3D face recognition, and 3) hybrid 3D ear recognition combining local and holistic features. For the 3D ear component of the multi-modal system, uncalibrated video sequences are utilized to recover the 3D ear structure of each subject within a database. For a given subject, a series of frames is extracted from a video sequence and the Region-of-Interest (ROI) in each frame is independently reconstructed in 3D using Shape from Shading (SFS). A fidelity measure is then employed to determine the model that most accurately represents the 3D structure of the subject’s ear. Shape matching between a probe and gallery ear model is performed using the Iterative Closest Point (ICP) algorithm. For the 2D face component, a set of facial landmarks is extracted from frontal facial images using the Active Shape Model (ASM) technique. Then, the responses of the facial images to a series of Gabor filters at the locations of the facial landmarks are calculated. The Gabor features are stored in the database as the face model for recognition. Match-score level fusion is employed to combine the match scores obtained from both the ear and face modalities. The aim of the proposed system is to demonstrate the superior performance that can be achieved by combining the 3D ear and 2D face modalities over either modality employed independently. For the 3D face recognition system, we employ an Adaboost algorithm to builda classifier based on geodesic distance features. Firstly, a generic face model is finely conformed to each face model contained within a 3D face dataset. Secondly, the geodesic distance between anatomical point pairs are computed across each conformed generic model using the Fast Marching Method. The Adaboost algorithm then generates a strong classifier based on a collection of geodesic distances that are most discriminative for face recognition. The identification and verification performances of three Adaboost algorithms, namely, the original Adaboost algorithm proposed by Freund and Schapire, and two variants – the Gentle and Modest Adaboost algorithms – are compared. For the hybrid 3D ear recognition system, we propose a method to combine local and holistic ear surface features in a computationally efficient manner. The system is comprised of four primary components, namely, 1) ear image segmentation, 2) local feature extraction and matching, 3) holistic feature extraction and matching, and 4) a fusion framework combining local and holistic features at the match score level. For the segmentation component, we employ our method proposed in [111], to localize a rectangular region containing the ear. For the local feature extraction and representation component, we extend the Histogram of Categorized Shapes (HCS) feature descriptor, proposed in [111], to an object-centered 3D shape descriptor, termed Surface Patch Histogram of Indexed Shapes (SPHIS), for surface patch representation and matching. For the holistic matching component, we introduce a voxelization scheme for holistic ear representation from which an efficient, element-wise comparison of gallery-probe model pairs can be made. The match scores obtained from both the local and holistic matching components are fused to generate the final match scores. Experimental results conducted on the University of Notre Dame (UND) collection J2 dataset demonstrate that theproposed approach outperforms state-of-the-art 3D ear biometric systems in both accuracy and efficiency.


Biometrics; Multi-Modal Biometrics; Face Recognition; Ear Recognition; 3D Modeling