May 24, 2012 6:43 PM GMT
Eugune Polley, the inventor of the television remote control and the man hailed as the founding father of the modern couch potato, has died aged 96.
Mr Polley, who created the innovative device in 1955, passed away from natural causes in his home of Chicago.
He is credited with changing the lifestyles of the Western world after inventing his “Flash-Matic” remote control.
His early version could turn televisions on and off using a beam of light, which made contact with four photo cells arranged in the corners of the screen.
It saved a new generation of families getting up from their sofas to walk across to their television sets to change the channel.
The original advertisement proclaimed “you have to see it to believe it” and described its method of working as a “flash of magic light”.
With no wires or cords, it enabled would-be customers to “shut off long, annoying commercials and, most importantly: “You can remain in your easy chair!”
Costing $149.95, the first advert said: “Here is a truly amazing new television development. Just think! Without budging from your easy chair you can turn your new Zenith Flash-Matic set on, off or change channels”.
The remarkable invention now allows almost every television owner in the developed world to remain on their sofas, saving energy, effort and even their carpets from wearing away under the repeated walk to and from the set.