Eugene Polley was an American engineer and inventor who is best known for his pioneering work in the field of television technology. Born on November 29, 1915, in Chicago, Illinois, Polley spent the majority of his career at Zenith Electronics Corporation, where he made significant contributions to the development of television sets.
Polley is credited with inventing the first wireless TV remote control in 1955. The device was called the “Flash-Matic,” and it revolutionized the way people interacted with their television sets. The Flash-Matic was a flashlight-like device that used light to control the television. It had four photoelectric cells on the television’s corners, and each button on the remote corresponded to a different cell. By pointing the remote at the desired corner of the TV and pressing the button, viewers could change channels or turn the TV on and off.
The invention of the wireless remote control was a game-changer for the television industry. Before the Flash-Matic, viewers had to manually adjust the TV’s settings or get up to change the channels. Polley’s invention introduced a new level of convenience and comfort, transforming the TV from a passive device into an interactive entertainment tool.
Eugene Polley’s contributions to television technology did not end with the Flash-Matic. Throughout his career at Zenith, he worked on various other advancements, including the development of the first wireless television remote control using ultrasonic technology. This innovation was introduced in the 1960s and used high-frequency soundwaves to control the TV.
Eugene’s work in the television industry earned him several awards and patents. He received the prestigious Emmy Award in 1997 for his contributions to the development of the wireless remote control. His inventions have been instrumental in shaping modern television technology and user experience.
His inventions have left a lasting impact on the way we interact with television sets and other electronic devices. The wireless remote control remains a staple in households worldwide, and its development has influenced the design and functionality of numerous other remote-controlled devices.
Eugene Polley passed away on May 20, 2012, leaving behind a legacy of innovation and pioneering spirit. His contributions to the television industry have revolutionized home entertainment and continue to shape the way we experience and interact with technology.