Opinion: Remote controls

POSTED: 05/23/12 1:18 PM

Few people around here will be familiar with the name of Eugene Polley, but there will be even fewer people who never handled the invention that made him famous: the remote control.
Polley passed away last Sunday in a suburb of Chicago at the ripe age of 96, his former employer Zenith electronics announced.
Polley’s first model, the Flash-Matic saw the light of day in 1955 – a year after the Kingdom Charter came into being. The appliance was a luxury article, a must have gadget for Americans with dollars to burn.
The Flash-Matic sent a light beam to light-sensitive cells in the corners of TV-displays. This way image and sound were activated and it was also possible to switch channels.
These days remote controls are as common as paperclips, and they don’t look like hair dryers anymore. They are also the source of quite some domestic disputes and of frustration among TV-junkies who are unable to find their remote control.
Polley and co-inventor Robert Adler received an Emmy Award for their invention in 1997.
We do have an opinion about remote controls. These things are everywhere and nobody would dream of buying a TV without it. Compared to 1955, the number of TV channels has gone through the roof, so to speak. Sadly, the quality of the content TV-junkies have to endure has gone down to a level where many people don’t bother to go anymore.

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