The world has lost someone who forever changed the lives of anyone with a television by allowing us to channel surf from the comfort of our couch. Simply put, there would be no couch potatoes without this man.
Eugene Polley, the inventor of the television remote control passed away on May 20th at the age of 96, of natural causes. In 1955, the onetime engineer built a gun-shaped wireless Flash-Matic for TV manufacturer Zenith, which aimed a light beam at photoelectric cells located in the upper corners of the TV screen. Each squeeze of the Flash-Matic’s trigger let viewers change TV channels or adjust the volume on their television sets.
During his 47-year career at Zenith, Polley attained eighteen TV-related patients. Along with fellow Zenith engineer Bob Alder, he was honored in 1997 with an Emmy because of their pioneering work in television remote controls.