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A real time V shape hand gesture recognition system by motion history template matching is proposed in this paper. Initially, user moves one of his/her hands in a specified region for template setup. Then, possible moving hand regions can be extracted by overlapping motion masks and skin color image. After noise removal of these regions, motion history template matching is used to recognize the V shaped hand gesture for shape toleration. The valley point of V is used to navigate the cursor and the left/right fingertip defines the left/right mouse button. In experiments, users can operate the windows system without physically contacting any equipment. The processing speed is more than 30 fps for images of size 320*240. The accuracy rate for the V shape hand gesture recognition is 96.92%. As to the recognition rates for left click, right click, and double click, we have 100%, 100%, and 91.53%, respectively.