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A Magical, Gestural Remote for Controlling Web-TV Content [Video]

As TV content blends into the Web, we’ll probably need a remote as intuitive — and button free — as this one.

A Magical, Gestural Remote for Controlling Web-TV Content [Video]

The Gesture Remote is the coolest TV remote control you never knew you wanted. Channel surf, adjust volume, putter around on Facebook — all without ever pressing a button. It’s the perfect thing to lose in your couch cushions.

The remote was designed by Lunar Europe, Ident Technology AG, and zinosign, and though it looks like a cross between a touchpad mouse and a touchscreen phone, it acts more like a motion sensor. Navigate menus by moving your fingers over its smooth, button-free surface: To zoom in, you raise your thumb; to browse, you scroll; to return to the main menu, you swoop right; and so on. Check their fantastically porny demo here (complete with money shots and bow-chick-a-wow-wow muzak):

The technology at play — invented by Germany-based Ident — is a series of sensors that track and respond to human gestures by exploiting surrounding magnetic fields. The company boasts that it’s paving the way for “the third dimension” in electronics — for letting you “control devices with just a wave of your hand.”

Nice. It’s hard to believe that in the age of Apple, with aesthetics planted firmly on consumers’ pedestals, no one thought of this sooner. Most TV controllers are terrible; they’ve got fat clunky bodies and entire ecosystems of buttons. (We count 65 on our Time Warner Cable remote; we know what to do with four of them.)

And they’re way over-matched by what TV is set to become — a screen that leads you to on-demand content, websites, YouTube, and Facebook. So as the divide between traditional TV and Web-based multimedia fades, the value of being able to navigate seamlessly from one mode to the next will become paramount. No one wants to have to figure out 65 buttons — or more.

[The interface on your TV screen]

Sadly, the Gesture Remote isn’t on sale — yet. For more info, visit www.gesture-remote.com.

About the author

Suzanne LaBarre is the editor of Co.Design. Previously, she was the online content director of Popular Science and has written for the New York Times, the New York Observer, Newsday, I.D.