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Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Inventor of TV remote control dies at age 96

You have to ask whether this should be celebrated at all given the very unhealthy way people go about their business nowadays? After all, a remote control is just another nail in the coffin in the fight against health related illnesses like obesity and other cardiovascular diseases. 
Undated photo of Eugene Polley  
Eugene Polley earned 18 patents during his 47-year career

According to this article, TV watchers may want to hit the mute button for a moment of silence because the man who invented the remote control has died at the age of 96, the Chicago Sun Times reported Tuesday.

Eugene "Gene" Polley died Sunday in a Chicago hospital. Polley invented the first wireless TV remote control in 1955 while working as an engineer for Zenith Electronic in Chicago. He received a 2,000-dollar bonus for his historic innovation, but later earned an Emmy award in 1997 for his contributions to television.

A Zenith "Flash-Matic," the first wireless TV remote control.  
The company marketed the device as the Flash-Matic. "A flash of magic light from across the room turns set on, off or changes channels," a company advertisement said. "And you remain in your easy chair!"

The device only worked with Zenith’s Flash-Matic TV, using a light beam that controlled photo cells in each corner of the TV. Historians credit the device with paving the way for TVs with hundreds of channels. They also note that the Flash-Matic had another innovative feature that just as many people might be grateful for: a mute button that allows users to turn off the sound during commercials.

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