TV Remote Control Inventor Dies

Posted May 22nd, 2012 at 4:40 pm (UTC-5)
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The inventor whose device enabled people to watch television without ever having to get up to change the channel has died.

Eugene Polley, who developed the first wireless television remote control, was 96 years old when he died Sunday in Chicago.

Polley was an engineer with Zenith Electronics in 1955 when he built a hand-held box that pointed a beam of light at the television set. The box let viewers change channels and turn the set on and off, alleviating the need to get up to walk to the TV.

Over the years, the remote control has gone from a novel luxury to what many people consider a necessity.

During his 47-year career as an engineer, Polley earned 18 U.S. patents. His other innovations include push-button car radios and the video disc — the forerunner of today's DVDs.