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Biomedical Identification


The hand retains and displays many anatomical differences due to our genetics, development, environment or even accidents so each person’s hands are different. Now for the first time, researchers will analyse all the factors that make a hand truly unique so we can understand and use them reliably as evidence to identify individuals.” - Professor Sue Black

H-unique is a five year, €2.5m programme of research that will be the first multimodal automated interrogation of visible hand anatomy, through analysis and interpretation of human variation via images. It is an interdisciplinary project, supported by anatomists, anthropologists, geneticists, bioinformaticians, image analysts and computer scientists. We will investigate the inherent and acquired variation in search of uniqueness, as the hand retains and displays a multiplicity of anatomical variants formed by different aetiologies (genetics, development, environment, accident etc). The project has arisen directly from Professor Black’s ground-breaking research in relation to the forensic identification of individuals from images of their anatomy in child abuse cases.

To help with this research we will shortly be calling on 5,000 ‘citizen scientists’ to contribute images to the world’s first searchable database of the anatomy and variations of the human hand. To register an interest in this exciting initiative please email us.

Principle Investigator

Sue Black

Sue Black

Visiting Professor

Cyber Security Research Centre (Health), Security Lancaster, Security Lancaster (Academic Centre of Excellence), Security Lancaster (Behavioural Science)



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H-unique: In search of uniqueness - harnessing anatomical hand variation
01/01/2019 → 31/12/2024