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History of the Remote Control


The typical American family has on average four remote controls in their household. 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. Throughout this paper, you will learn about how the many different uses of remote controls have helped accomplish tasks once inconceivable by a human alone, but also have led western civilization into a lazy society. In addition, you will learn about the man who invented the first wireless remote control and other types of remotes used in modern day technology.

  The first remote controls used to operate machines by the German and United States military during WWI and WWII. During WWI, the German navy used radio-controlled motorboats to ram enemy ships. By WWII, the use of remote controls was beginning to be more of a worldwide concept, controlling bombs and other remote control weapons. The military has a lot of uses for remote controls but beginning in the late 1940s, 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 TVs 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 industrys 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.

  Now, for the reasons remote controls are major parts of the downfall of our society. Today, remote control is a standard feature on other consumer electronics products, including VCRs, cable and satellite boxes, digital video disc players and home audio receivers. And the most sophisticated TV sets have remotes with as many as 50 buttons. Today, there are remote controls that are sold to control just about everything you could imagine in your house. These remote controls can turn on and off every light in your house from where ever you are, let visitors in without getting up, adjust your temperature, turn on music, and more. There are systems set up now so that a person can perform all the operations listed above from their office or anywhere else, just by picking up the phone and calling the house. Other problems presented by the use of remote controls are when using mechanical controls, human hands are almost always better suited for the job, mainly because a remote control will do the job slower than a human would be able to. Also, possession of the TV remote control has become a source of conflict in many households. Some even claim that the remote has attributed to laziness. Even though the development of remote keyless-entry has helped in many ways, it also has led to such things as remote ignition starters, which is just another thing to make our society lazier then it already is. There are even remote controls that can operate a persons audio and video equipment that is installed in their vehicle. 

Keywords:history of the remote control,history remote control,remote control
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