Computer scientists at Lancaster University have come up with a system that makes it possible interact with screens simply by using body movements, or waving objects.
Requiring only a simple webcam, the "Matchpoint" works by displaying moving targets that orbit a small circular "widget" in the corner of the screen.
Some televisions already recognise hand gestures, but scientists say this technology provides a lot of flexibility because it is not trained to look for a specific body part. It works even when hands are full, or while standing or slouching on the sofa.
The user synchronises hand, head or object movements with the targets to activate functions such as volume, changing channel or viewing a menu.
Team leader Christopher Clarke, a PhD student at the university's School of Computing and Communications, said: "Spontaneous spatial coupling is a new approach to gesture control that works by matching movement instead of asking the computer to recognise a specific object.