This New Software Can Perfectly Forge Your Handwriting

Researchers at the University College London have developed new software that can perfectly forge anyone's handwriting. As if you needed more online hackery developments to make you feel nervous about identity protection.

In the past, efforts to do this have been easy to spot - the rigidity of computer fonts didn't fool anyone and results looked computer generated.

However, this new algorithm, developed by Dr. Tom Haines, Dr. Oisin Mac Aodha, Dr. Gabriel Brostow, and other computer scientists, analyses every single element of human handwriting and replicates it.

There are many scenarios where we wish to imitate a specific author's pen-on-paper handwriting style. Rendering new text in someone's handwriting is difficult because natural handwriting is highly variable, yet follows both intentional and involuntary structure that makes a person's style self-consistent. The variability means that naive example-based texture synthesis can be conspicuously repetitive.

The curves, distinct shapes, the thickness of individual letters, how characters are joined, spaces between them (horizontally and vertically) - all aspects are taken into account. And this scanning continues from word to word, because no word is the same when it comes to individual letters in them.

In fact, the new technology requires at least a paragraph's worth of writing to replicate the handwriting. So in terms of forging, I'd try and keep your handwritten prose to a minimum...

But while you can see the somewhat frowned upon uses of this (forging cheques, sick notes, etc), there are some worthwhile cases for this tech existing. Stroke victims could continue to create handwritten notes. Comic books and graphic novels could be translated into other languages while maintaining the aesthetic style of the text.

So count me as nervous-excited about this.