Hand gesture recognition is one of the significant research domains in the computer science field to which people have paid attention in the past decade. It has been considered as a highly successful technology, where it saves time to unlock any device and provide high stability with an increased accuracy rate. It provides a simple interface for humans to communicate with machines. This paper describes an external hardware-independent system which can control electrical appliances using hand gesture and voice control. We will be using a subpart of this field which is measuring the distance of relative hand movement with respect to the sensors used. The system uses a distance-measuring technique to provide certain functionalities to external hardware. The relative hand movement is recognized using ultrasonic sensors and voice pattern is recognized using analog to digital converter. The hardware part of the ultrasonic sensor is interfaced with Arduino. After getting the sound speed (sonic speed) and time between emission and reception, the distance can be calculated and provide necessary functionalities. In Voice Control Google Speech Recognition is used to convert speech to text and provide the desired functionalities. The workflow of the entire system is controlled using Arduino and Python code. © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020.