On-line handwriting recognition using physics-based shape metamorphosis

Ioannis Pavlidis, Rahul Singh, Nikolaos P. Papanikolopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


We present a new technique based on shape metamorphosis for on-line recognition of handwritten words and simple shapes in a user-dependent setting. The approach includes a segmentation method that does not try to locate letters but instead performs the significantly easier task of locating corners and some key low curvature points. This is part of the method's strategy to see the word as a generic on-line shape. The segmentation points are used to model a cursive word or a hand-drawn line figure by pieces of wire. Shape metamorphosis occurs through stretching and bending of the artificial wire. The amount of energy spent in morphing one shape to another is used as a dissimilarity measure. For any two given shapes an optimal morph can be computed in quadratic time by constraining the metamorphosis to the segmentation points of these shapes. Experiments with multiple subjects indicate that the method can handle collectively cursive words and hand-drawn line figures, both useful forms of communication in pen-based computing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1589-1600
Number of pages12
JournalPattern Recognition
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1998

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements—This work has been supported by the National Science Foundation through Contracts dIRI-9410003 and dIRI-9502245, the Center for Transportation Studies through Contract dUSDOT/DTRS 93-G-0017-01, the Minnesota Department of Transportation through Contracts d71789-72983-169 and d71789-72447-159, the Department of Energy (Sandia National Laboratories) through Contracts dAC-3752D and dAL-3021, the McKnight Land-Grant Professorship Program, and the Department of Computer Science of the University of Minnesota. Finally, we would like to extend our sincere appreciation to the anonymous reviewer for his/her thoughtful comments and suggestions.


  • Cursive words
  • Line figures
  • On-line
  • Pen-based computing
  • Shape metamorphosis


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