The man who dreamed up an iconic piece of technology has passed away.
Eugene Polley, the inventor of the first wireless TV remote, died May 20 at the age of 96
. The former Zenith engineer invented the "Flash-Matic" TV remote in 1955.
We wonder what Polley might have thought about how the technology he invented has evolved. At first, a TV remote was a luxury. Now, with so many TV channels to choose from, it's all but essential. Plus, it controls a lot more than just the TV. It's got just about every other piece of audio-visual hardware covered.
We wonder what Polley might have thought about the fact that even in their most evolved forms, TV remotes still look rather prehistoric these days.
There could (and probably will) come a day when cable customers don't use an elaborate console of buttons to flip through TV channels. Instead, they'll "swish and flick" their way through custom apps
that take them right to the programming they want to watch most. And thanks to ongoing developments with motion sensor technology, they might not even have to touch a screen to do it.
Just because Polley's idea no longer works for the complex needs of today's TV viewers doesn't mean it shouldn't deserve some respect. His idea marked a crucial step toward putting power in the hands of the consumer.
And for that, we — and no doubt, couch potatoes everywhere — thank you, Mr. Polley.