We're usually pleasantly surprised by the interface technology out of Redmond, but we rarely see Microsoft tackle anything as simple as a TV remote control. However, a July 1st patent application by the software giant describes a fairly interesting gizmo with controls on multiple sides. With a six-axis inertial sensor package, the unit always knows which direction is up and activates only that side -- allowing engineers to slim down the unit (or cram more buttons into the same space) by putting contextually-aware touchscreens on any surface of the device. When you move the remote, the sensors detect that, too, and immediately illuminate the screen. Just goes to show you can always find a new angle for mundane technology, eh?

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Microsoft patent application proposes six-axis remote that's buttered on both sides