New software can mimic your handwriting

Venkatesan R | | Updated on: Jan 17, 2018

The algorithm is built around glyphs — a specific instance of a character

Scientists have developed a new software that can analyse the handwriting of any individual and accurately replicate it, an advance that may spark the comeback of the handwritten word in a world dominated by the ‘QWERTY’ keyboard.

Researchers at University College London (UCL) created ‘My Text in Your Handwriting’, a programme which examines a sample of a person’s handwriting and generates new text saying whatever the user wishes, as if the author had handwritten it themselves.

“Our software has lots of valuable applications,” said Tom Haines, from UCL.

“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,” Haines said.

“It could also be used in comic books where a piece of handwritten text can be translated into different languages without losing the author’s original style.”

The machine-learning algorithm is built around glyphs — a specific instance of a character. Authors produce different glyphs to represent the same element of writing — the way one individual writes an ‘A’ will usually be different to the way others write it. Although an individual’s writing has slight variations, every author has a recognisable style that manifests in their glyphs and their spacing. The software learns what is consistent across an individual’s style and reproduces this, researchers said.

Published on August 15, 2016
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