Wednesday, 23 May 2012

TV Remote Controller Inventor Dies

Eugene Polley, inventor of TV remote, died this past Sunday. Polley died of natural causes at a suburban Chicago hospital, said Zenith Electronics spokesman John Taylor. The former Zenith engineer was 96.

I thought it was Doctor Who news-worthy to consider his passing since Polley took the idea of remote control from science-fiction to everyday fact. Though radio-remote control was also possible at the time, the idea of a hand-held device that could control other electronics was a breakthrough. A sonic screwdriver in Doctor Who is a bit magic-wand, but thanks to devices like the TV-remote, it also became something plausible to TV audiences in 1963.

As an engineer for Zenith Electonics, Polley came up with the idea in 1955 for the "Flash-Matic", a green ray-gun looking remote that aimed at different corners of the tv set changed channels or volume up and down using photo-voltaic cell sensors.

He also worked on worked on radar advances for the U.S. Department of Defense during World War II, the push-button radio for automobiles and on the development of the video disk, predecessor of today's DVD. Polley and fellow Zenith engineer Robert Adler were honored in 1997 with an Emmy for their work in pioneering TV remotes. In 2009, he received the Masaru Ibuka Consumer Electronics Award from the Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers.Over his career he earned 18 U.S. patents for engineering.

Polley was proud of his invention even late in life, Zenith spokesman John Taylor said. He showed visitors at his assisted-living apartment his original Flash-Matic and how it had evolved into the technology of today. "He was a proud owner of a flat-screen TV and modern remote," said Taylor. "He always kept his original remote control with him."

Beyond keeping TV viewers pinned to their chairs, Polley's invention unchained technology from mechanical knobs and levers, opening vast possibilities, said Richard Doherty, CEO of suburban New York-based technology assessment and market research company Envisioneering.

"Without his idea you might not have gotten to the Internet," Doherty said. "It allowed you to go beyond the physical dial. It set the pace for dozens for follow-on inventions that go beyond the physical."

Source : NY Times, AP


globutl said...

Now if he had only invented a device to help you find the TV remote I'd be impressed.

globutl said...

How did we miss this story?

Dark Day: What Do You Think Happened?

Tuesday 15 May 2012

What do you think happened?
On May 19th, 1780, darkness fell across vast swathes of New
England and Canada. Nothing unusual about that. Except it was noon… The
darkness lasted several hours and many believed that this sinister
‘night-time’ signalled the end of the world…It’s one of
those mysteries the Doctor would love to solve! Unfortunately, he’s a
little busy at the moment. Planets to save, species to rescue, new forms
of jammy dodgers to invent. So, we’d like to know what you think
caused this mysterious event! Some people have suggested forest fires
whilst others say that a blaze big enough to cause total darkness for
several hours would have been noticed! Your suggestions can be
scientific but we’d also love to hear explanations that tie into the
Doctor’s world. Do you think a vast armada of Dalek spaceships over
North America caused the phenomenon, for instance? Did the Cybermen have
a metal hand in the mystery or were the Judoon poking their horns into
human affairs again?On May 19th - the anniversary of what became
known as Dark Day – we’ll publish the best, most inventive, funniest and
craziest of your suggestions. So, let your imaginations go ballistic
and let’s shed some light on the noon-time darkness!Submissions for this entry have now closed