It's hard to imagine life without remote controls, but it's been a long strange path to the modern incarnation we know, and love, today.
Lazy Bones Ad
Flash-Matic Ad
Robert Adler
Flash-Matic
Zenith’s Space Command Ad
Zenith’s Space Command Ad
Space Commander 600
Jerrold Remote Control
Early-IR
Panasonic IR Remote
Zenith Z-Trak
Logitech Harmony One
Pronto 9600
  
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Slide 2 of 13
Robert Adler

Considered the father of remote controls, Robert Adler was asked by his superiors at Zenith Electronics to ‘find a new way for television viewers to change channels without getting out of their chairs or tripping over a cable,’. Fellow engineer Eugene Polley created the “Flashmatic” remote control in 1955, while Adler’s submitted the “Space Commander” the following year. Adler went on to become the Vice President and Director of Research at Zenith and before retiring in 1982.

Read more: A History of TV Remote Controls