2011 Lincoln MKX Button-free Controls: The 2011 Lincoln MKX will be the first production vehicle to dispense with traditional pushbuttons, knobs and switches for audio and climate controls. These have been replaced by touch-sensitive pads that respond not to pressure but to the proximity of a finger swipe - which disturbs a minute electrical field, which triggers the operation of whatever function the driver wishes to engage - such as adjusting fan speed or the stereo's volume. It is not necessary to actually touch or push on the panel, as you'd do on a microwave, for example.
Each pad illuminates amber when activated, returning to neutral white backlighting when off.
Jaguar debuted a similar system last year in the 2010 XF sedan, but only for a few functions, such as opening the glovebox. The Lincoln system is much more comprehensive and dispenses with most of the old-style buttons and switches one used to find all over the dash - replacing them with a smooth, ultra-modern looking surface that's also easier to keep clean since there aren't small crevices for dirt and dust to work their way into.
The only potential downside is the likely high cost to repair/replace the touch pads and associated electronics should they malfunction down the road - when the car is no longer under warranty.