Graduation Year

Fall 2013

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Mathematical Sciences

Reader 1

Arthur Lee

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2013 Neal Kemp


The field of biometrics has grown significantly in the past decade due to an increase in interest from law enforcement. Law enforcement officials are interested in adding tattoos alongside irises and fingerprints to their toolbox of biometrics. They often use these biometrics to aid in the identification of victims and suspects. Like facial recognition, tattoos have seen a spike in attention over the past few years. Tattoos, however, have not received as much attention by researchers. This lack of attention towards tattoos stems from the difficulty inherent in matching these tattoos. Such difficulties include image quality, affine transformation, warping of tattoos around the body, and in some cases, excessive body hair covering the tattoo.

We will utilize context-based image retrieval to find a tattoo in a database which means using one image to query against a database in order to find similar tattoos. We will focus specifically on the keypoint detection process in computer vision. In addition, we are interested in finding not just exact matches but also similar tattoos.

We will conclude that the ORB detector pulls the most relevant features and thus is the best chance for yielding an accurate result from content-based image retrieval for tattoos. However, we will also show that even ORB will not work on its own in a content-based image retrieval system. Other processes will have to be involved in order to return accurate matches. We will give recommendations on next-steps to create a better tattoo retrieval system.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.