Australian researchers are developing a television mouse to replace the regular remote control, allowing users to change channels with the wave of a hand.

A team in the Australasian Cooperative Research Centre for Interaction Design, ACID, has developed a device that clips on to the hand and enables the user to control their television with simple gestures.

“As television becomes more and more interactive, viewers want to have greater control over what we see and do with it,” said Professor Duane Varan. “We want the ability to give it commands in straightforward ways, such as with voice or gestures.”

“In fact, we think we can go way beyond existing remote controls with a device like this,” he adds.

The prototype gesture recognition device clips on the hand and has accelerometers which measure movement and orientation in various directions, with a thumb-button to lock in the command.

“We accept that consumers are increasingly discerning and that a technology-centric approach is no longer acceptable for entertainment or business markets which demand intuitive, easy-to-use devices,” said Professor Jeff Jones, who heads the ACID research centre.

The team is currently fine-tuning the prototype device so it can recognise a wide variation in gestures, including speed, extent and support for both left and right-handed users.

One potential flaw with the prototype device is that it is still small enough to get lost down the back of the couch.