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Thursday, 27 July 2017

Remote control

On June 1, 1894, at a meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science at Oxford University, the British physicist Oliver Lodge made the first demonstration of wirelessly controlling at a distance. During a memorial lecture on the work of Heinrich Rudolf Hertz and the German scientist's proof of the existence of electromagnetic waves, Lodge made a mirror galvanometer move a beam of light when an electromagnetic wave was artificially generated.

Two ans a half years years later, radio innovators Guglielmo Marconi and William Preece arranged a demonstration of radio controlled apparatus on December 12, 1896 at Toynbee Hall, a center of social reform in East London. Marconi advertised the event and invited the newspaper press. During the event, the pair amazed the assembled audience by making a bell ring by pushing a button in a box that was not connected by any wires.

In 1893 the Serbian-American inventor, Nikola Tesla successfully demonstrated a radio-controlled boat at the Electrical Exhibition held at Madison Square Garden, New York City. Tesla called his boat a "teleautomaton".

Tesla was awarded U.S. patent No. 613,809 for a "Method of and Apparatus for Controlling Mechanism of Moving Vessels or Vehicles." The patent, awarded on November 8, 1898, describes the first device anywhere for wireless remote control.

Tesla radio-controlled boat

In 1903, Spanish civil engineer Leonardo Torres Quevedo obtained a patent for the Telekino. The device consisted of a robot that executed commands transmitted by electromagnetic waves.

On September 25 1906, in the presence of the king and before a great crowd, Torres-Quevedo successfully demonstrated his iTelekino in the port of Bilbao by guiding a boat from the shore. With the Telekino, Torres-Quevedo laid down modern wireless remote-control operation principles and the event is considered the birth of the remote control.

The Telekino receptor

The first remote intended to control a television was developed by US company Zenith Radio Corporation in 1950. The device, originally linked to the television by an unsightly wire, was quickly nicknamed "Lazybones".

In 1955, Zenith engineer Eugene Polley invented the first wireless remote, the "Flashmatic." His invention used visible light to remotely control a television outfitted with four photo cells in the cabinet at the corners of the screen. The "Flashmatic", which spawned the family of remotes that now crowds the average coffee table.

The first TV remote controls were called "clickers" and did not use batteries, they transmitted an ultrasound when the user clicked the button, striking a metal rod inside to send an audible signal to the TV.

The Zenith Space Commander Six hundred remote control. By Jim Rees

Source The Independent

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