8.5.1 • Public • Published


    Quickly integrate face, hand, and/or pose tracking to your frontend projects in a snap 👌

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    💻 Project Documentation

    I'm still experimenting with various ways to create documentation. The docs can be found:

    Sorry for the confusion! I'll likely be settling on Notion but am still trying to find the best docs. Thanks!


    This repo is broken into 3 main parts: The actual library itself found in /src/, the documentation for it in /docs/, and the Handsfree Browser Extension in /extension/.


    Installing from CDN

    Note: models loaded from the CDN may load slower on the initial page load, but should load much faster once cached by the browser.

    This option is great if you don't have or need a server, or if you're prototyping on a site like CodePen. You can also just download this repo and work with one of the /boilerplate/.

      <!-- Include Handsfree.js -->
      <link rel="stylesheet" href="https://unpkg.com/handsfree@8.5.1/build/lib/assets/handsfree.css" />
      <script src="https://unpkg.com/handsfree@8.5.1/build/lib/handsfree.js"></script>
      <!-- Your code must be inside body as it applies classes to it -->
        // Let's use handtracking and show the webcam feed with wireframes
        const handsfree = new Handsfree({showDebug: true, hands: true})
        // Create a plugin named "logger" to show data on every frame
        handsfree.use('logger', data => {

    Installing from NPM

    # From your projects root
    npm i handsfree
    // Inside your app
    import Handsfree from 'handsfree'
    // Let's use handtracking and enable the plugins tagged with "browser"
    const handsfree = new Handsfree({showDebug: true, hands: true})

    Hosting the models yourself

    The above will load models, some over 10Mb, from the Unpkg CDN. If you'd rather host these yourself (for example, to use offline) then you can eject the models from the npm package into your project's public folder:

    # Move the models into your project's public directory
    # - change PUBLIC below to where you keep your project's assets
    xcopy /e node_modules\handsfree\build\lib PUBLIC
    cp -r node_modules/handsfree/build/lib/* PUBLIC
    import Handsfree from 'handsfree'
    const handsfree = new Handsfree({
      hands: true,
      // Set this to your where you moved the models into
      assetsPath: '/PUBLIC/assets',

    Example Workflow

    The following aims to give you a quick overview of how things work. The key takeaway is that everything is centered around hooks/plugins, which are basically named callbacks which are run on every frame and can be toggled on and off.

    Quickstart Workflow

    The following workflow demonstrates how to use all features of Handsfree.js. Check out the Guides and References to dive deeper, and feel free to post on the Google Groups or Discord if you get stuck!

    // Let's enable face tracking with the default Face Pointer
    const handsfree = new Handsfree({weboji: true})
    // Now let's start things up
    // Let's create a plugin called "logger"
    // - Plugins run on every frame and is how you "plug in" to the main loop
    // - "this" context is the plugin itself. In this case, handsfree.plugin.logger
    handsfree.use('logger', data => {
      console.log(data.weboji.morphs, data.weboji.rotation, data.weboji.pointer, data, this)
    // Let's switch to hand tracking now. To demonstrate that you can do this live,
    // let's create a plugin that switches to hand tracking when both eyebrows go up
    handsfree.use('handTrackingSwitcher', {weboji} => {
      if (weboji.state.browsUp) {
        // Disable this plugin
        // Same as handsfree.plugin.handTrackingSwitcher.disable()
        // Turn off face tracking and enable hand tracking
          weboji: false,
          hands: true
    // You can enable and disable any combination of models and plugins
      // Disable weboji which is currently running
      weboji: false,
      // Start the pose model
      pose: true,
      // This is also how you configure (or pre-configure) a bunch of plugins at once
      plugin: {
        fingerPointer: {enabled: false},
        faceScroll: {
          vertScroll: {
            scrollSpeed: 0.01
    // Disable all plugins
    // Enable only the plugins for making music (not actually implemented yet)
    // Overwrite our logger to display the original model APIs
    handsfree.plugin.logger.onFrame = (data) => {
      console.log(handsfree.model.pose?.api, handsfree.model.weboji?.api, handsfree.model.pose?.api)


    Face Tracking Examples

    Face Pointers

    Motion Parallax Display

    Puppeteering Industrial Robots

    Playing desktop games with face clicks

    Hand Tracking Examples

    Hand Pointers

    Use with Three.js

    Playing desktop games with pinch clicks

    Laser pointers but with your finger

    Pose Estimation Examples

    Flappy Pose - Flappy Bird but where you have to flap your arms

    Local Development

    If you'd like to contribute to the library or documentation then the following will get you going:

    • Install NodeJS and git
    • Clone this repository: git clone https://github.com/handsfreejs/handsfree
    • Install dependencies by running npm i in a terminal from the project's root
    • Start development on localhost:8080 by running npm start
    • Hit CTRL+C from the terminal to close the server

    Once you've run the above, you can just use npm start. If you pull the latest code, remember to run npm i to get any new dependencies (this shouldn't happen often).

    Command line scripts

    # Start local development on localhost:8080
    npm start 
    # Builds the library, documentation, and extension
    npm run build
    # Build only the library /dist/lib/
    npm run build:lib
    # Build only the documentation at /dist/docs/
    npm run build:docs
    # Build only the extension at /dist/extension
    npm run build:extension
    # Publish library to NPM
    npm login
    npm publish
    # Deploy documentation to handsfree.js.org

    Dev Notes

    • See vuepress-component-font-awesome for adding new icons to the documentation. Remember to run npm run fa:build when adding new font icons so that they are copied over into the docs/.vuepress/components/FA folder
    • You may occasionally need to restart server when adding new files to the /docs, this is true when changing /docs/.vuepress.config.js as well

    The Handsfree Browser Extension

    The Browser Extension is a designed to help you browse the web handsfree through face and/or hand gestures. The goal is to develop a "Userscript Manager" like Tampermonkey, but for handsfree-ifying web pages, games, apps, WebXR and really any other type of content found the web.

    How it works

    • When you first install the extension, /src/background/handsfree.js checks if you've approved the webcam. If not, then it'll open the options page in src/options/stream-capture.html
    • The popup panel has a "Start/Stop Webcam" button that communicates with the background script to start the webcam: /src/popup/index.html
    • The background page is where the models are stored and run. This keeps everything isolated and only asks for webcam permission once (vs on every domain): /src/background/handsfree.js
    • The background page also uses the "Picture in Picture" API to "pop the webcam" out of the browser. It renders the webcam feed and debug canvases into a single canvas, and uses that as the srcObject to a separate video element which is the PiP'ed

    How to install

    Google Chrome

    Install as an unpacked chrome extension.

    1. Visit chrome://extensions
    2. Enable Developer Mode on the top right
    3. Then click Load unpacked and select this project's root folder

    Handsfree Browsing

    By default, each page will get a "Face Pointer" or a set of "Palm Pointers" for you to browse pages handsfree.

    A person controlling a virtual mouse pointer by tilting their head around A person scrolling a page by pinching their index and thumb together and raising or lowering their pinched hand

    However, in addition to the pointers you can add custom handsfree interactions. For example, here's a demonstration of handsfree-ifying different things:

    Creating generative art with hand gestures A person pinching the air to "pinch" a blob. Moving a pinched blob causes it to sing in a different pitch

    Explore the interactive docs at: Handsfree.js.org

    Or try it right away with the serverless boilerplates in /boilerplate/!

    License & Attributions

    License: Apache 2.0

    The Handsfree.js core is available for free and commercial use under Apache 2.0. Each of the models are also available for free and commercial use under Apache 2.0:


    I'd like to also thank the following people and projects:

    Special Thanks

    • @Golan and the The STUDIO for Creative Inquiry for hosting me for a residency during 2019 and for helping me approach projects in a more expressive way. Also for inviting me back for a multi-month residency in Spring 2021!
    • @AnilDash for supporting the project during Winter 2018 out of the blue and the opportunities to share my project on Glitch.com
    • The School of AI for the 2018 Fellowship in support of this project
    • @jessscon and Google PAIR for the very early support that made starting this project possible
    • Everyone who's previously supported the project through GitHub Sponsors, Patreon, GoFundMe, and through Twitter and everywhere else over the years




    npm i handsfree

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