Well it may be hard to believe, but the remote control turned 50 last year!
Fitting to honor this ubiquitous device at the time of the passing of Dr. Robert Adler earlier this month.
He received more than 180 U.S. patents, but his contribution to consumer electronics with the "Space Command" TV wireless remote control became his most visible legacy.
Along with another Zenith engineer, Eugene Polley, Adler perfected a remote control system based on the generation and reception of ultrasonic tones. Prior to the Adler/Polley invention, remote control was available on some television receivers, but the control was via a connected multiconductor cable.
He also contributed to the field of television engineering with work on gated-beam tubes, improvements in synchronizing circuitry and electromechanical filters. He suggested the use of SAW (surface acoustic wave) filters in television IF amplifiers, a technology that was ultimately adopted in all television receivers and later became an important part of cellular telephone technology.