Abstract Blue Image


In search of uniqueness - harnessing anatomical hand variation


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 Prof. Black’s ground-breaking research in relation to the forensic identification of individuals from images of their anatomy in child abuse cases.

Image of hands upraised

How you can contribute

To help with this research we are appealing for 5,000 ‘citizen scientists’ to anonymously complete a short questionnaire and contribute images to the world’s first searchable database of the anatomy and variations of the human hand.

For more information on what data we will be capturing and how it will be used, please read the participant information

We have developed a simple web application through which anybody over the age of 18 can contribute data to the project using a smartphone with a standard web browser and camera.

If you are viewing this page on a mobile phone browser, please click the contribute link below to start the contribution app.

Click Here To Contribute Now

If you are viewing this page on a laptop or desktop machine, please open this page in your phone browser or scan the QR code below with your mobile phone...

QR code for h-unique contribution app

For those that are unable to contribute using a smart phone, we will be introducing additional contribution methods over the course of the project.

If you have any questions about the project, please see the FAQ page, or contact us.

You can also register with our mailing list to receive progress updates during the life of the project

Professor Dame Sue Black on the H-unique project

“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.”

Principal Investigator

Sue Black

Sue Black

Professor, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Engagement

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

The Team

  • C
  • E
  • F
  • G
  • H
  • I
  • J
  • K
  • L
  • M
  • N
  • O
  • P
  • Q
  • S
  • T
  • U
  • V
  • X
  • Y
  • Z

Loading People



View Projects

H-unique: In search of uniqueness - harnessing anatomical hand variation
01/01/2019 → 31/12/2023