Logitech has launched a wireless laser mouse that doesn't need a surface to sit on, combining features of the traditional mouse and remote control.

The MX Air Mouse works either on a surface or held in the air. In the air, users move the mouse up, down, sideways or in a circle to navigate, and they make selections by pressing buttons and touch-sensitive points on the mouse. In place of a scroll wheel, it has a touch-sensitive scroll panel.

The MX Air Mouse is designed for people who use PCs for entertainment, said Andy Hengel, a product manager at Logitech. The mouse's features worked well with a Windows Media Center Edition PC in a product demonstration. A user navigates the PC's media content by moving the mouse in the air. Buttons and controls on top of the mouse were used to select music and movies to play, as with a remote control.

Some functions can be controlled using ‘gesture-based commands’, where users can move the mouse in the air to change volume or skip or repeat music tracks. After pressing the volume button, a user can move the mouse right to increase volume and left to turn it down. Pressing the play/pause button and moving the mouse clockwise or counter-clockwise to move a song forward or backward.

The MX Air performs well from any angle, Hengel said. It can ignore minor, unintentional hand movements to keep the mouse's movement smooth.

The device can communicate with a PC from as far as 30 feet. It communicates with an RF receiver plugged in a PC's USB (Universal Serial Bus) port. The mouse also runs with Windows XP and Vista and will work with Mac OS X soon, Hengel said.

The $149.99 (£75) mouse will ship in early August in Europe and the US.