An improved faster-RCNN model for handwritten character recognition

Saleh Alahli, Marriam Nawaz, Ali Javed, Aun Irtaza

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Existing techniques for hand-written digit recognition (HDR) rely heavily on the hand-coded key points and requires prior knowledge. Training an efficient HDR network with these preconditions is a complicated task. Recently, work on HDR is mainly focused on deep learning (DL) approaches and has exhibited remarkable results. However, effective detection and classification of numerals is still a challenging task due to people’s varying writing styles and the presence of blurring, distortion, light and size variations in the input sample. To cope with these limitations, we present an effective and efficient HDR system, introducing a customized faster regional convolutional neural network (Faster-RCNN). This approach comprises three main steps. Initially, we develop annotations to obtain the region of interest. Then, an improved Faster-RCNN is employed in which DenseNet-41 is introduced to compute the deep features. Finally, the regressor and classification layer is used to localize and classify the digits into ten classes. The performance of the proposed method is analyzed on the standard MNIST database, which is diverse in terms of changes in lighting conditions, chrominance, shape and size of digits, and the occurrence of blurring and noise effects, etc. Additionally, we have also evaluated our technique over a cross-dataset scenario to prove its efficacy. Experimental evaluations demonstrate that the approach is more competent and able to accurately detect and classify numerals than other recent methods.

Original languageEnglish
JournalArabian Journal for Science and Engineering
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Deep learning
  • DenseNet-41
  • Faster-RCNN
  • Hand-written digits


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