Walky is an iPhone robot controller that uses nifty new multi-touch gestures undreamed of by Steve Jobs. Skipping right past those bulky, hard-to-use controllers for personal robots, the creators of Walky use simple and intuitive finger motions to control the robot.
This concise video shows each of the various motion controls; see the fingers, the iPhone and the robot in this Walky video.
(Walky video shows iPhone robot controller)
The Walky iPhone gesture interface for robots was created by Yuta Sugiura and his colleagues at the Graduate School of Media Design, Keio University. I've seen my son, who has some aptitude for robots and math, work with different toy robots, and this interface seems to be much easier for a novice.
I seem to recall movies from the Fifties in which robots were controlled by handheld devices, but the only sf reference for gesture control that I know about doesn't make use of a device (see gesture-controlled device from Douglas Adams' 1979 novel The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy).