Getting Started

HandWAVE tracks your hand and watches for gestures. It is designed to run in the background and is very smart about filtering out unintended movements so that gestures are never accidentally triggered. You can swipe in four directions, perform circles leftwards or rightwards, tilt your hand or make a fist. All these gestures can be tied to commands that will control your computer.

As soon as HandWAVE sees a hand, it will start monitoring for this hand to become stable. This is important to filter out temporary movements and to allow you to perform gestures at a comfortable location. So, to start using HandWAVE, just naturally move your open hand to where you want to perform your gestures and pause there for a very brief moment. That is sufficient for HandWAVE to understand that it should start watching your hand.

standard configurationDefault Configuration

When you first start up HandWAVE, it will automatically be configured to trigger media and navigation actions for your gestures.

To the right is an overview of how the gestures are configured by default.

Training Tutorial

It's very difficult to explain how to perform gestures with written words. So, to make it easy for you to train the supported gestures, HandWAVE includes a tutorial that will guide you through every step of the way. The actions that the tutorial will perform are those that are available through the default configuration.

Here's an example of what the tutorial looks like:

tutorial example

Once you've finished the tutorial, you can always launch it again by selected it from the 'Help' menu.

action selectorAdvanced Configuration

The configuration window is accessible from the 'View' menu and allows you to change the actions that are performed through your gestures.

Assigning Actions

To assign an action to a particular gesture, simply click the button to the right of it. This will bring up the action selector dialog with the available options. Some of these should be self-explanatory, so we'll only detail those that need a little bit of explanation.

Key Press

waiting for keysAs soon as you click on the 'Key Press...' button, its text will change into '...waiting for keys'. Now it's up to you to press a key down on your keyboard, including modifier keys. HandWAVE will monitor the keys you pressed, close the dialog and show you the result. Note that while this is a very convenient way of configuring virtual key presses, this also ties them to your keyboard model. So if you're using the same configuration with another keyboard, there's a slim chance that it might not work anymore. Most standard keys should be fine though.

Modifier Keys

Sometimes it's not possible to let HandWAVE detect more advanced key combinations since the operating system already uses them for existing actions. By toggling the modifier buttons, you can add modifier keys to any key that was detected by HandWAVE through the 'Key Press...' button. These modifier keys can also be used during scroll wheel actions.

Launch File

HandWAVE will open the specified document, folder or application. You can click the browse button to the right to select a file on your hard drive, drag & drop a file or folder from your hard drive on the text field, or type in the path yourself.

Since HandWAVE automatically loads its own documents when they're opened, 'Launch File' also makes easy to switch between different HandWAVE configurations with gestures.

Resource consumption

All the gestures will be smoothly and dynamically highlighted in the configuration window when they're detected by HandWAVE. This is extremely handy for configuration and training purposes, but it also consumes a little bit of CPU.

You can choose to turn off gesture highlights from the 'View' menu, or simply close the HandWAVE window. Both approaches will make HandWAVE's CPU usage insignificant and it will have no impact at all when you're running applications where each computing cycle counts.


The global preferences are available through the menu of the HandWAVE application.

File Menu

These preferences are related to general behavior of the application.

Open Last Document at Launch

When checked, HandWAVE will automatically load your last document at startup. This is particularly handy if you want to use your own personal configuration on a day-to-day basis. Note that it requires the document to be saved on your computer so that HandWAVE can load it.

Launch at Login

When checked, HandWAVE will automatically be started when you log into your desktop.

View Menu

These preferences are related to what is shown in HandWAVE.

Show Configuration Window

Display or hide the configuration window that allows you to define which action has to be performed for each gesture. This window can always be closed and isn't necessary to be visible for HandWAVE to function. Your configuration can be saved through the 'File' menu and reloaded afterwards.

Show Notification HUD

The notification HUD displays overlays that notify you of HandWAVE's gesture behavior. Through this menu item, it's possible to turn them on or off.

Notify Immediately when Hand is Seen

By default, the notification HUD will show an overlay every time HandWAVE detects a hand. This is very useful when you first start using HandWAVE, but later on it might be disrupting for your day-to-day use. This menu item allows you to turn this behavior off.

Show Gesture Highlights

This menu item allows you to enable or disable gesture highlights in the configuration window.