TV Remote Inventor Eugene Polley Dies at 96

Society » OBITUARIES | May 23, 2012, Wednesday // 13:50
Bulgaria: TV Remote Inventor Eugene Polley Dies at 96 An undated photo provided by LG Electronics shows engineer Eugene Polley.

Eugene Polley, the inventor of the first wireless TV remote control, has passed away at the age of 96.

He died of natural causes Sunday at a suburban Chicago hospital, a spokesman announced on Wednesday.

The former Zenith engineer's green, gun-shaped Flash-Matic remote control was introduced in 1955, five years after the Zenith Radio Corporation unveiled Lazy Bones, a TV remote that was connected to the set with a wire.

By aiming Polley's ray gun-like Flash-Matic very precisely at the receiver, one could pull the red trigger to shoot a beam of light at a photoelectric cell to change the channel and adjust the volume.

A much better device was invented just a year later by Robert Adler, a fellow engineer at Zenith, which is now owned by LG Electronics. Adler's Zenith Space Command used ultrasound instead of light to trigger functions on the TV receiver.

That remote made a signature "clicking" sound when it struck a bar to emit various frequencies that could be detected by the television set.

Polley and Adler were honored in 1997 with an Emmy for their work in pioneering TV remotes.

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Tags: Eugene Polley, TV, Robert Adler
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