Inventor gave us remote control for TVs
The co-inventor of the TV remote, Robert Adler, has died. Mr. Adler, who won an Emmy Award along with fellow engineer Eugene Polley for...
The Associated Press
BOISE, Idaho — The co-inventor of the TV remote, Robert Adler, has died.
Mr. 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 said Friday.
In his six-decade career with Zenith, Mr. Adler was a prolific inventor, earning more than 180 U.S. patents. He was best known for his 1956 Zenith Space Command remote control.
In a May 2004 interview with The Associated Press, Mr. Adler recalled being among two dozen engineers at Zenith given the mission to find a new way for viewers to change channels without getting out of their chairs or tripping over a cable.
Various sources have credited either Polley, another Zenith engineer, or Mr. Adler as the inventor of the device. Polley created the "Flashmatic," a wireless remote introduced in 1955 that operated on photo cells. Mr. 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 Mr. Adler and Polley an Emmy in 1997 for the landmark invention.
During World War II, Mr. Adler specialized in military communications equipment. He later helped develop sensitive amplifiers for ultra-high-frequency signals used by radio astronomers and the Air Force.
Mr. Adler also was considered a pioneer in SAW technology, or surface acoustic waves, in color television sets and touch screens. The technology has been used in cellphones.
His wife, Ingrid, said her husband wouldn't have chosen the remote control as his favorite invention. "He was more of a reader," she said.
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