The remote control, since its inception, has been the poster child for convenience. No longer must we move from the couch to adjust the volume of the television. No longer must our model boats float idly as we watch from shore. No longer must our scale replica aircraft stay firmly on the ground, for now we have the remote control. Aside from the frustration of losing batteries and the momentary confusion that comes from holding them backwards, the remote control employs high tech technology all so we can mute the commercials.
Back in 1898, a fellow by the name of Nikola Tesla (fan favorite inventor of hipsters everywhere; i.e. “Man, Edison is so mainstream”) demonstrated the first ever practical use of the remote control. In his presentation, he guided a remote controlled boat, a teleautomaton, much to the amazement and delight of the masses. We can assume that Tesla harnessed the power of remote technology in the development of his death ray that he invented thirty years later.
In 1950 when there was a television in every American home, Eugene Polley introduced the Lazy Bone remote control so that families could enjoy Shirley Temple movies more thoroughly. The device connected the handheld device to the TV via a cord to adjust the volume, change the channel, and turn the it on and off.
By the 1980s when the appeal of cords and high-frequency utlrasonic sounds had wore off, remotes began to use infrared light signals that are pretty much still in use to this day. It’s basically vintage.
Check out this infographic for more on the remote control; its permeation into your life may surprise you. Like what you see? Don’t forget to share it and let us know what you think in the comments. Maybe one day remote technology will become so advanced that we will never have to leave our couches for anything. Here’s to hoping.