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In this paper, we present a universal remote control system based on computer vision. The method is composed of two stages of detecting visual evidences. Motion and skin color information is utilized to detect waving hands requesting control commands. Upon the request, the camera is controlled to zoom in on local region of the hand. The number of open fingers is counted by the shape analysis on the segmented hand region image. Control command is issued when a predetermined sequence of gesture state transition is produced. Experimental results show that the shape of open fingers exhibits strong features for determining correct gesture states. The use of stable features on consecutive frames yields robust and accurate performance regardless of operating conditions.