Hand menu — MRTK3

Hand Menu

Hand menus allow users to bring up hand-attached UI for frequently used functions. These are usually small button groups that offer quick actions. However, sometimes more complex layouts for displaying information or settings are provided to the user as a hand menu, often with the option to "tear away" the menu from the hand and anchor it in the world.

The Hand menu provides 'Require Flat Hand' and 'Use Gaze Activation' options to prevent false activation while interacting with other objects. It's recommended to use these options to prevent unwanted activation.

Example scene and Prefabs


The hand menu prefabs are currently built using the non-Canvas controls. They'll soon be rebuilt using the Canvas components and auto-layout system as detailed in the Button Group documentation.

If you're using the template project, HandMenuExamples.unity demonstrates several common configurations for hand menus, all using the HandConstraintPalmUp script.

Hand Menu Example Scene

HandMenu1x4 and HandMenu2x4

The menu becomes visible and invisible in these prefabs by activating and deactivating the MenuContent object on OnFirstHandDetected() and OnLastHandLost() events. This behavior is recommended for the menu with a small UI, which requires a short amount of interaction time.

Hand Menu Example 2x4


This prefab demonstrates the example of a large or complex UI that requires extended interaction time. For this type of UI, it's recommended to world-lock the menu on hand drop to improve usability and avoid arm fatigue. This example also supports 'grab and pull' to world-lock the menu.

In this example, the menu becomes visible and invisible by activating the MenuContent object on OnFirstHandDetected() event. With the OnLastHandLost() event, the close button is activated, and placement animation is triggered. The animation is a simple scaling fluctuation. Because we didn't hide the MenuContent on OnLastHandLost() event, the menu will be automatically world-locked when the hand isn't visible. The values in the Palm Up section have been optimized to make the menu world-locked without being dragged down too much on hand drop.

Hand Menu Example Large 1

Palm Up configuration

This example provides the grabbable bar on the bottom area of the menu and the automatic world-locking behavior. The user can explicitly detach the menu from the hand and place it in the world by grabbing this. To achieve this, on ManipulationStarted() event in ObjectManipulator, we disable SolverHandler.UpdateSolvers. Otherwise, the menu won't be able to be detached since HandConstraint solver will try to position the menu near the hand position. We also use HandConstraintPalmUp.StartWorldLockReattachCheckCoroutine to allow the user to raise the hand to reattach the menu to the hand.

Hand Menu Example Large 2

Lastly, the close button needs to reactivate the SolverHandler.UpdateSolvers to restore HandConstraint solver's functionality.

Hand Menu Example Large 3


The HandConstraint behavior provides a solver that constrains the tracked object to a region safe for hand constrained content (such as hand UI, menus, etc.) Safe regions are considered areas that don't intersect with the hand. A derived class of HandConstraint called HandConstraintPalmUp is also included to demonstrate a common behavior of activating the solver-tracked object when the palm is facing the user.

See the tooltips available for each HandConstraint property for additional documentation. A few properties are defined in more detail below.

  • Safe Zone: The safe zone specifies where on the hand to constrain content. It's recommended that content be placed on the Ulnar Side to avoid overlap with the hand and improved interaction quality. Safe zones are calculated by the hands' orientation projected into a plane orthogonal to the camera's view and raycasting against a bounding box around the hands. Safe zones are defined to work with XRNode. Exploring what each safe zone represents on different controller types is recommended.

  • Follow Hand Until Facing Camera With this active, the solver will follow hand rotation until the menu is sufficiently aligned with the gaze when it faces the camera. To make this work, change the SolverRotationBehavior in the HandConstraintSolver, from LookAtTrackedObject to LookAtMainCamera as the GazeAlignment angle with the solver varies.

Hand Menu Example Safe Zone

  • Activation Events: Currently, the HandConstraint triggers four activation events. These events can be used in many different combinations to create unique HandConstraint behaviors.

    • OnHandActivate: triggers when a hand satisfies the IsHandActive method.
    • OnHandDeactivate: triggers when the IsHandActive method is no longer satisfied.
    • OnFirstHandDetected: occurs when the hand tracking state changes from no hands in view to the first hand in view.
    • OnLastHandLost: occurs when the hand tracking state changes from at least one hand in view to no hands in view.
  • Solver Activation/Deactivation Logic: Currently, the recommendation for activating and deactivating HandConstraintPalmUp logic is to do so by using the SolverHandler's UpdateSolver value rather than by disabling/enabling the object. This can be seen in the example scene through the editor-based hooks triggered after the attached menu's ManipulationHandler "OnManipulationStarted/Ended" events.

    • Stopping the hand-constraint logic: When trying to set the hand-constrained object to stop (and not run the activation/deactivation logic), set UpdateSolver to False rather than disabling HandConstraintPalmUp.
      • If you want to enable the gaze-based (or even non-gaze-based) Reattach logic, this is then followed by calling the HandConstraintPalmUp.StartWorldLockReattachCheckCoroutine() function. This will trigger a coroutine that continues to check if the "IsValidController" criteria are met and will set UpdateSolver to True once it is (or the object is disabled).
    • Starting the hand-constraint logic: When trying to set the hand constrained object to begin following your hand again (based on whether it meets the activation criteria), set the SolverHandler's UpdateSolver to true.
  • Reattach Logic: Currently, the HandConstraintPalmUp can automatically reattach the target object to the tracked point, regardless of whether the SolverHandler's UpdateSolver is True. This is done by calling the HandConstraintPalmUp's StartWorldLockReattachCheckCoroutine() function after it has been world-locked (which in this case, is effectively setting the SolverHandler's UpdateSolver to False).