Invention

Following Eugene Polley’s “FlashMatic” as a model Robert Adler set to work immediately to help Zenith correct some of the flaws with the original design.  Robert Adler, a Vienna born scientist was working for Zenith when Polley invented the original wireless remote control.  The year following the debut of the “FlashMatic” Adler invented “Space Command.”  “Space Command” worked by using ultrasonic waves to send signals to the television set. Adler’s new design greatly improved the quality of Polley’s original design.  The biggest change was less interference with the signal.[1]

In 1982, there was a major change in the technology.  At this time, inferred technology replaced the ultrasonic waves.  This step actually went back to something more similar to Polley’s original design.  Yet, Adler is still credited with the ideas and designs of the television remote control.[2]

The job of the remote control is to create a signal after you press a button and send it to the television set.  What may seem simple is actually more complicated.  When you look inside a remote control, you really only see a circuit board, the rest is hidden from view.  Sometimes the battery connectors are also visible.  A chip inside the circuit board detects when a button is pressed, and then translates it into a special signal.  The signal is then sent to a transistor that amplifies the signal to make it stronger.  An LED signal is then transmitted into inferred light that is easily sensed by the TV.[3]


[1] Picariello, Gary. “The History of the Television Remote Control.” http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/59525/a_history_of_the_television_remote_pg2.html?cat=39 (accessed February 10, 2009).

[2] Picariello, Gary. “The History of the Television Remote Control.” http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/59525/a_history_of_the_television_remote_pg2.html?cat=39 (accessed February 10, 2009).

[3] Marshall Brain, “Inside a TV Remote Control.” http://www.howstuffworks.com/inside-rc.htm (accessed February 10, 2009).

Image from:    Picture of Robert Adler. http://www.geocities.com/neveyaakov/electro_science/adler1.jpg (accessed March 14, 2009).

Leave a Reply