Ever since LostRemote.com launched over a dozen years ago, it’s been a search engine favorite for people looking for remote controls (and for couple seasons, fans of the “Lost” TV show, too). So it goes without saying that we should report that Eugene Polley, the brilliant engineer who invented the wireless remote control, has passed away at 96.
While working at Zenith, Polley created the “Flash-Matic” remote control, which was launched in 1955. It’s widely recognized as one of the biggest inventions in TV, sparking “channel surfing,” living room squabbles and deep-diving into sofas for that lost remote. Today, 57 years later, the remote control is undergoing its first major reinvention, migrating to second-screen touch devices and potentially disappearing altogether with voice and motion-controlled TV.
Polley and fellow Zenith engineer Robert Adler were honored in 1997 with an Emmy Award.