Signature Tracking

As my final project for 2.086, Numerical Computation for Mechanical Engineers, I made a MATLAB script (on top of some published code) with which you can draw your signature with a mouse/pen/finger and it re-draws it in the way you wrote it.

At the start of the semester, I had never used MATLAB. Thus, it was challenging to figure out how to break the problem down and to not know if the problem was something achievable in the time available. The initial challenge was deciding between the multiple ways that I could approach the problem. Originally, I thought the program would run by interpolating curves between points in letters, but following that path quickly led to several issues.

Here’s what my thought process at various points looked like: 2.086 project brainstorming and notes.

In the end, I found builtin functions that read mouse cursor movements. This led me to a program that someone wrote which records these movements and saves them. I improved the code and added the feature of redrawing these points as an animated signature.

To run it, you need MATLAB installed. Download both files from here: MATLAB-animated-signature and run SignatureTrack.m. Press any key to start recording and press any key again to pause. When you’re done, close that figure and MATLAB will show the animated signature twice.

When I look back, the project was a fun challenge that taught me how to teach myself to use MATLAB. This ultimately made me more confident with MATLAB and using it frequently for homework, class projects, and research.