TV Remote Control Inventor Eugene Polley Dead at 96

Eugene Polley, the inventor of the first wireless TV remote control, has died aged 96.

Eugene Polley, the inventor of the first wireless TV remote control, has died aged 96.

AP (“Inventor of the TV remote control dies“):

Eugene Polley, the inventor of the first wireless TV remote control, has died.

A spokesman for Zenith Electronics says the former Zenith engineer died of natural causes Sunday at a Downers Grove hospital. He was 96.

Couch potatoes everywhere have Polley to thank for hours of feet-up, channel surfing. His invention began as a luxury, but has become a necessity in an era of hundreds of TV channels and home theaters. Just ask anyone who’s lost a remote.

Polley’s 1955 Flash-Matic pointed a beam of light at photo cells in the corners of the screen. This activated the picture and sound and changed channels.

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

It should have been a Nobel. He was a hero to us all.

FILED UNDER: Popular Culture, Quick Takes, Science & Technology
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James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Are you sure he’s actually dead? Try pushing his buttons harder.

  2. Peterh says:

    From one who remembers having to get up to change to one of 4 channels…. RIP Mr. Polley….you did well…..

  3. J-Dub says:

    Damn, I thought I had invented the remote control. I had a notched stick that could reach the tv from my bed and turn the knob. I still had to manually switch it back to tv mode from my Atari computer though.

  4. Scott O. says:

    Before the remote control there was this TV available to couch potatoes.

  5. al-Ameda says:

    That man is greatly responsible for the Obesity Epidemic that plagues America today.