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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.

H-Unique site
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 how to contribute section on the project site

As our preferred contribution method, 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.

To go straight to the contribution app If you are viewing this page on a mobile phone browser, please click or scan the QR code.

QR code for h-unique contribution app

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.”


View Projects

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