TechFlash noticed the Microsoft Research paper detailing the invention, which was developed at the company's Cambridge lab. Unlike wind-up remotes, the Peppermill doesn't require a potentially polluting battery, with the user creating all the necessary power when they choose a function.
For instance, twisting the remote alone might adjust the volume on a TV. Holding the yellow button and twisting might scroll through channels, while the red button could bring up interactive options.
The researchers say that even their prototype feels natural to use and can generate five times as much power as is necessary to drive the components - meaning the leftover juice could power haptic feedback or a visual display.