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The need to improve communication between humans and computers has been motivation for defining new communication models, and accordingly, new ways of interacting with machines. In many applications today, user interaction is moving away from traditional keyboards and mouses and is becoming much more physical, pervasive and intuitive. This paper examines hand gestures as an alternative or supplementary input modality for mobile devices. A new gesture recognition system based on the use of acceleration sensor, that is nowadays being featured in a growing number of consumer electronic devices, is presented. Accelerometer sensor readings can be used for detection of hand movements and their classification into previously trained gestures. The proposed system utilizes Mahalanobis distance metric learning to improve the accuracy of nearest neighbour classification. In the approach we adopted, the objective function for metric learning is convex and, therefore, the required optimization can be cast as an instance of semidefinite programming. The experiments, carried out to evaluate system performance, demonstrate its efficacy.