Inventor Of The TV Remote Dies At 96
May 23, 2012

Inventor Of The TV Remote Dies At 96

Lee Rannals for

Couch potatoes across the world became united on one channel of sadness as news that the inventor of the television remote control had died began to set in.

Eugene Polley, the 96-year-old inventor of the remote control, died on Sunday at a Chicago hospital, according to Zenith Electronics.

His first invention, the Flash-Matic, was created in 1955 and was a device that pointed a beam of light at photo cells on each corner of the TV.  This "device" was able to turn a television on and off, as well as change the channels, thus becoming the pathogen directly responsible for obesity in this country.

Polley's invention was considered a luxury add-on back then, making the Flash-Matic an accessory only for the rich.

He began his engineering career in 1935, and worked for Zenith for 47 years while earning 18 patents during his time.

Zenith's Flash-Matic was followed by sonic-controlled remotes, and then infrared and radio frequency model remote controls.

Now-a-days, remote controls made by companies like Universal Remote and Logitech are able to do more than just turn a television on and off.  These smart-remotes can talk to a house that has been wired for home automation, giving telekinesis abilities to those who are unwilling to stand up and turn on a fan manually.

Zenith spokesman John Taylor told the Associated Press (AP) that Polley was a "proud owner" of a flat-screen TV and modern remote, but he kept his original remote control with him, showing off the Flash-Matic to visitors.

During Polley's career at Zenith, he worked his way up to the Head of Video Recording Group and Assistant Division Chief for the Mechanical Engineering Group.

He and fellow Zenith engineer Robert Adler were honored in 1997 with an Emmy Award for "Pioneering Development of Wireless Remote Controls for Consumer Television."

The only thing Polley could've been more accredited with inventing other than the TV remote is if he found a way to have kept the beloved devices from being lost inside the couch cushions.

Polley was said to have died of natural cases and is survived by his son Eugene J. Polley Jr., and grandson, Aaron, of San Diego, California.

Let´s all raise our remotes in sorrow, pull out the double AAs, and click one for Polley.