Inventor of the TV Remote Dies

Discussion in 'OFF-Topic / Misc.' started by syscom3, Feb 17, 2007.

  1. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    This guy deserves a special salute from everyone who enjoys channel searching. Especially during commercials!
    How many readers here remember the days before remote controls were standard fare?

    Inventor of the TV Remote Dies

    By SHANNON DININNY
    Associated Press Writer

    BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- Hit the mute button for a moment of silence: The co-inventor of the TV remote, Robert Adler, has died.

    Adler, who won an Emmy Award along with fellow engineer Eugene Polley for the device that made the couch potato possible, died Thursday of heart failure at a Boise nursing home at 93, Zenith Electronics Corp. said Friday.

    In his six-decade career with Zenith, Adler was a prolific inventor, earning more than 180 U.S. patents. He was best known for his 1956 Zenith Space Command remote control, which helped make TV a truly sedentary pastime.

    In a May 2004 interview with The Associated Press, Adler recalled being among two dozen engineers at Zenith given the mission to find a new way for television viewers to change channels without getting out of their chairs or tripping over a cable.

    But he downplayed his role when asked if he felt his invention helped raise a new generation of couch potatoes.

    "People ask me all the time - 'Don't you feel guilty for it?' And I say that's ridiculous," he said. "It seems reasonable and rational to control the TV from where you normally sit and watch television."

    Various sources have credited either Polley, another Zenith engineer, or Adler as the inventor of the device. Polley created the "Flashmatic," a wireless remote introduced in 1955 that operated on photo cells. Adler introduced ultrasonics, or high-frequency sound, to make the device more efficient in 1956.

    Zenith credits them as co-inventors, and the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences awarded both Adler and Polley an Emmy in 1997 for the landmark invention.

    "He was part of a project that changed the world," Polley said from his home in Lombard, Ill.

    Adler joined Zenith's research division in 1941 after earning a doctorate in physics from the University of Vienna. He retired as research vice president in 1979, and served as a technical consultant until 1999, when Zenith merged with LG Electronics Inc.

    During World War II, Adler specialized in military communications equipment. He later helped develop sensitive amplifiers for ultra high frequency signals used by radio astronomers and by the U.S. Air Force for long-range missile detection.

    Adler also was considered a pioneer in SAW technology, or surface acoustic waves, in color television sets and touch screens. The technology has also been used in cellular telephones.

    The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published his most recent patent application, for advances in touch screen technology, on Feb. 1.

    His wife, Ingrid, said Adler wouldn't have chosen the remote control as his favorite invention. In fact, he didn't even watch much television.

    "He was more of a reader," she said. "He was a man who would dream in the night and wake up and say, 'I just solved a problem.' He was always thinking science."

    Adler wished he had been recognized for more of his broad-ranging applications that were useful in the war and in space and were building blocks of other technology, she said, "but then the remote control changed the life of every man."
     
  2. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    I know I shed a tear for this hero . I remember arguing with my brothers about who was going to get up to switch channels this man changed civilization .
     
  3. lesofprimus

    lesofprimus Active Member

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    The very first remote we had was attached to the cable box with a 30 foot cord... That was freakin awesome...

    Then we got the very first TV with remote control... Myself being the eldest of 3, I owned the remote with an iron fist and a steady torrent of foul language, that as far as anyone knows is still floating somewhere over the Long Island Sound...
     
  4. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    Yeah, I generally get the remote being the eldest too... Great device, really did make watching the TV that much more lazy...
     
  5. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Yes...Lets celebrate the guy that allows us to be even more lazy, sit on our ass with KFC and surf the channels! No wonder we are the fattest nation on the planet....

    Just kidding guys...
     
  6. mkloby

    mkloby Active Member

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    At least w/ the cord you didn't have to worry about people's fat heads blocking the signal.
     

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  7. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Fat heads or fat a***'s?

    hehehehehhe
     
  8. lesofprimus

    lesofprimus Active Member

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    lol both...
     
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