Most home automation systems force you to use a touchpad to interface with the system. Living Control 's TouchStone is rather cleverer than that.

Instead the ball-like remote figures out which room you're in and automatically gives you a choice of four customisable atmosphere settings for that room. This enables you to listen to music, switch on the radio, shut the curtains or switch on the lights, for example - without having to delve through hundreds of buttons. Hurrah.

The semi-spherical TouchStone can do this because its interface comprises just two concentric, low-profile rings. The outer ring controls system volume, channel/track selection and mute; the inner ring enables you to call up the four different atmospheres a.k.a room settings.

The TouchStone is available September in silver or black from CSE Solutions , priced at around £300. It only works with Living Control's own multi-room systems. Price has yet to be confirmed.