Undergraduate thrives on biometrics research

Within the span of five weeks, Mike Brockly, a senior industrial technology major from Griffith, Ind., will have presented two research papers on two continents. It all started with a required 300-level biometrics course: IT 34500 (Automatic Identification and Data Capture). "I didn't even know what it meant," he said about the class. "Once we got into it, I fell in love with it. After the class was over, I told the professor I was really interested in biometrics, and he recommended that I take IT54500 (Biometrics Technology and Applications). That class opened me up to all the possibilities that the field offers." As part of the class requirements, Brockly volunteered to work on a project focused on dynamic signature verification. His professor, Stephen Elliott, assigned Brockly to work on the project with two researchers from the University of Kent, Canterbury, UK: Richard Guest, a professor, and James Scott, a graduate student. Purdue has worked closely with the team at Kent on several biometric research projects, and both are actively involved in biometric standardization development. "When someone signs on a digitizer tablet, you can measure pressure, how long it takes to sign, speed, velocity, tangents of curves," he said. "We took the process for signing and broke down every possible error that could occur. We used the Human Biometric Sensor Interaction (HBSI) model that was created by a former Purdue grad student for finger print sensors. Dynamic signatures have never been looked at by behavioral HBSI. We categorized the errors and then revised the HBSI model based on what we found." This research allows for a deeper understanding of how humans interact with the biometric devices rather than focusing on the performance of the technology, Elliott said. [pullquote]The College of Technology has given me such a great chance; I couldn't be happier with the way things have turned out.[/pullquote] Once the class and the research were complete, Brockly worked over the summer to fine tune the research paper to submit for publication. The proposal was successful, and he was invited to the 45th IEEE International Carnahan Conference on Security Technology in Barcelona, Spain, to present the paper. It was his first experience with presenting research and traveling internationally. "It was a little nerve-wracking. I may have been one of the youngest people in the room, if not the youngest," he said. "Presenting to 40-50 distinguished people in the field was kind of intimidating and a great experience. Everyone has so much extra work to do; there's not enough workers in the field to do it. It was a really great time to share stories with people and share ideas. Everyone's asking questions and everyone wants to know the next why or how." Brockly said the experience has helped hone his writing skills for other Purdue classes. The fresh perspectives he experienced at the conference have helped him think more creatively about his own projects, too. The experience and success of the project made him excited to try a second. He worked with Elliott on a paper during the summer that has been accepted at the 7th International Conference on Information Technology and Application in Sydney, Australia. He will present “Image Quality, Performance, and Classification — the Impact of Finger Location” with Elliott Nov. 21-24. When Brockly enrolled in the IT program, graduate school was not part of his future plans. But the urgent need for research in the biometrics field changed his mind. Brockly will graduate in December and then start graduate school in the College of Technology in January. "It's just awesome. The College of Technology has given me such a great chance; I couldn't be happier with the way things have turned out," he said. -- View the PowerPoint slide show featuring Brockly's research. Publication citations for Brockly's undergraduate research: •    M. Brockly, R. Guest, S. Elliott, J. Scott, 2011. "Dynamic Signature Verification and the Human Biometric Sensor Interaction Model." 45th Annual 2011 International Carnahan Conference on Security Technology, Mataro, Barcelona, Spain, October 18-21, 2011. •    M. Brockly, S. Elliott, 2011. “Image Quality, Performance, and Classification - the Impact of Finger Location.” 7th Annual 2011 International Conference on Information Technology and Application, Sydney, Australia, November 21-24 2011.