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Remote Control Controls One First


Look around the room and count how many you have in your house. I count five in just this room alone, not including the wireless mouse and keyboard I am using right now to type this paper. Everyone has seen remote controls for televisions, VCRs, and stereos. However, can you imagine a remote control that can also control lights, the temperature, drapes, and even the front door lock! Remote controls have come along way since their first uses mainly for military purposes during WWI and WWII. There have been many different types of remote controls invented, some, which have helped society develop, and others that have led to our demise.

The military has a lot of uses for remote controls but beginning in the late 1940's, scientists in the United States began experiments to discover uses of the remote control for uses other then on the battlefield. One of them scientist, the famous, Robert Adler, holds patents for 180 electronic devices, but is best known for his contribution in the development of the remote control. The first television remote control, established in 1950 by the Zenith Electronics Corporation, which was then known as the Zenith Radio Corporation. The name given to the remote, "Lazy Bones," is all the irony I need to have you understand the title of this paper. "Lazy Bones" used a cable that ran from the TV set to the person watching TV's hand.

A motor in the TV set controlled the tuner through the remote control. Of course, people liked the idea of not having to get up to change the channel, but there were many complaints concerning the cable that ran across the floor that everyone always tripped over. As an engineer working for Zenith, Eugene Polley formulated the electronic industry's first wireless remote control in 1955, called the "Flashmatic." The basic operation of the "Flashmatic" was that it shined a beam of light, like a flashlight, at four photo cells in each one of the corners of the screen of the TV. The main problem that arose with the "Flashmatic" was that if the TV screen was exposed to sunlight during the day, the tuner had a tendency to change itself. Nonetheless, the head-honchos of the Zenith Corporation loved the concept that Polley brought about with the "Flashmatic," and directed their engineers to develop a better remote control. How a remote control sends commands to a television set. 

Keywords:remote controls
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