Inventor of first wireless TV remote control dies at 96

May 22, 2012

Eugene Polley, who in 1955 invented the first wireless remote control for television, has died of natural causes, his longtime employer Zenith Electronics said Tuesday. He was 96.

In a statement, Zenith -- a subsidiary of South Korea's formerly known as Zenith Radio Corporation -- said the Chicago native passed away in hospital on Sunday.

Polley joined Zenith Radio in 1935, where his 18 patented inventions included the Flash-Matic remote control, a flashlight-like device that could turn a television set on and off and change channels as well.

It functioned with four photo cells fitted on each corner of the , but it was not without its problems -- notably on sunny days -- and it was succeeded by the ultrasonic Zenith Space Command in 1960.

During , Polley worked at Zenith on US military . Later he helped to develop push-button car radios as well as video disks, the predecessor of today's DVDs.

He shared an Emmy award in 1997 with Space Command inventor Robert Adler for pioneering wireless remote control devices for consumer television.

Polley was preceded in death by his wife Blanche and his daughter. He is survived by his son and grandson, who live in San Diego, California.

Explore further: Privacy groups take 2nd hit on license plate data

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

TV remotes to undergo big change

Jul 01, 2009

In 1955, Zenith introduced the first wireless TV remote control, the Flash-Matic, followed a year later by the Space Command.

Recommended for you

Privacy groups take 2nd hit on license plate data

Sep 19, 2014

A California judge's ruling against a tech entrepreneur seeking access to records kept secret in government databases detailing the comings and goings of millions of cars in the San Diego area via license plate scans was ...

Scots' inventions are fuel for independence debate

Sep 17, 2014

What has Scotland ever done for us? Plenty, it turns out. The land that gave the world haggis and tartan has produced so much more, from golf and television to Dolly the Sheep and "Grand Theft Auto."

White House backs use of body cameras by police

Sep 16, 2014

Requiring police officers to wear body cameras is one potential solution for bridging deep mistrust between law enforcement and the public, the White House said, weighing in on a national debate sparked by the shooting of ...

Chinese city creates cellphone sidewalk lane

Sep 15, 2014

Taking a cue from an American TV program, the Chinese city of Chongqing has created a smartphone sidewalk lane, offering a path for those too engrossed in messaging and tweeting to watch where they're going.

Coroner: Bitcoin exchange CEO committed suicide

Sep 15, 2014

A Singapore Coroner's Court has found that the American CEO of a virtual currency exchange committed suicide earlier this year in Singapore because of work and personal issues.

User comments : 0