remote control - infrared
It was in June of 1956, that the
practical television remote controller first entered the American home.
Remote control technology was developed for military use (the Germans used
remote control motorboats during W.W.I.) and in the late 1940's the first
non-military uses for remote controls appeared (i.e. automatic garage door
Zenith Radio Corporation, the company
behind the development of the remote control, created the very first television
remote control in 1950, called "Lazy Bone." Lazy Bone could turn a television
on and off and change channels, however, it was not a wireless remote control.
The Lazy Bone remote control was attached to the television by a bulky
cable, which the consumer did not like (the cable caused tripping).
Zenith engineer, Eugene Polley created
the "Flash-matic," the first wireless TV remote invented in 1955. The Flash-matic
operated by means of four photocells, one in each corner of the TV screen.
The viewer used a directional flashlight to activate the four control functions,
which turned the picture and sound on and off and turned the channel tuner
dial clockwise and counter-clockwise. However, the Flash-matic had problems
working well on sunny days, when the sunlight could change channels randomly.
The improved "Zenith Space Command,"
remote control went into commercial production in 1956. Zenith engineer,
Robert Adler who based his invention on ultrasonics, designed the Space
Command. Ultrasonic remote controls remained the dominant design for the
next twenty-five years, and as the name suggests they worked using ultrasound
waves. The Space Command transmitter used no batteries; inside the transmitter
were four lightweight aluminum rods that emitted high-frequency sounds
when struck at one end. Each rod was a different length to create a different
sound that controlled a receiver unit built into the television.
The first Space Command units were
expansive due to the necessary use of six vacuum
tubes in the receiver units that raised the price of a television by
thirty percent. In the early 1960s, after the invention of the transistor,
remote controls came down in price and size, as did all electronics. Zenith
modified the Space Command remote control with the benefits of transistor
technology (and still using ultrasonics) creating small hand-held and battery-operated
remote controls. Over nine million ultrasonic remote controls were sold.
Infrared devices replaced ultrasonic
remote controls in the early 1980s.
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History of Television
Robert Adler holds 180 patents for
electronics devices, whose applications run from the esoteric to the everyday;
he is best known as the a pioneer in the development of the remote control.
Dr. Robert Adler
Among Robert Adler's earlier work
is the gated-beam tube, which at the time of its introduction represented
an entirely new concept in the field of vacuum tubes.
Adler - TV Remote Control Pioneer
Adler was associate director of
research at Zenith in the 1950s when the company’s founder-president, Commander
E.F. McDonald Jr., challenged his engineers to develop a device to "tune
out annoying commercials."
Need A Remote Control (compare
Kind of Remote Control
Controls For Television
The first TV remote control called
"Lazy Bones," was developed in 1950 by Zenith Electronics Corporation (then
known as Zenith Radio Corporation). This was not a wireless remote. A Lazy
Bones was attached to the TV by a long wire.
Control of Your Entire Home
A remote control that can also control
lights, the temperature, drapes, the front door lock.
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