Flash-Matic: See The World's First Wireless Remote Control, Invented By Eugene Polley (PICTURE)

Before the Remote app for the iPhone and the many-buttoned universal remote, there was Eugene Polley's Flash-Matic, the world's very first wireless remote control.

An engineer for electronics company Zenith, Polley passed away on May 20 at the age of 96. His Flash-Matic invention dates all the way back to 1955.

Take a look at the revolutionary device:

eugene polley remote

As its ad shows (view below), this huge technological development was all thanks to a "beam of magic light," which enabled remote users to change channels and turn TV sets on or off without having to move from their sofas. Bloomberg explains further that the "magic" beam of light projected from the Flash-Matic connected to four photo cells located in the corners of the TV's screen, allowing users to change channels, adjust the volume and turn the picture on or off.


eugene polley remote

According to, Zenith had released the Lazy Bone remote control five years prior to the Flash-Matic in 1950. While the earlier remote could turn sets on or off and change channels, it was inconveniently connected to the TV with a cable. "It turned out that consumers did not like the cable because it caused frequent tripping," writes

What do you appreciate most about the remote control? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!