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Panasonic's Numberless Remote

Washington — Panasonic whipped up some buzz at the Cable Show ‘09 with demos of the Easy Touch — a prototype remote control that has no numbered buttons.

The remote lets you change channels, type in an on-screen keyboard and access other features by sliding your thumbs around on the remote’s touch-sensitive pad. It also has a motion-sensing capability like the Nintendo Wii, so you can perform some actions by waving the remote around.

The Easy Touch’s screen cursor is a thumb (cute!), and the remote even senses if you’re using your right or left thumb to display the correct digit.

The idea is to provide visual feedback, so you don’t have to look down to see what you’re punching into the remote. The device does, however, include six programmable buttons, for functions like volume and channel up/down.

The company was showing two Easy Touch remotes, one with metallic red trim and the other with blue.

Panasonic isn’t saying when they’ll be available commercially, but judging by the traffic at the vendor’s booth the idea was getting two thumbs up from show-goers.

The company also showed Easy Touch at CES in January — a picture is here.