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The 20th May was a sad day for scientists, couch potatoes and fans of inventions alike, as the much heralded Eugene Polley passed away aged 96.

Many of you may ask who Eugene was and why the reference to sliced bread and couch potatoes?

Eugene, was responsible for creating wireless television remote controls (aka Clickers, Doofers, Guns, Shooters, etc). In 1955 he invented a product known as ‘Flash-Matic’. Flash-Matic used visible light to remotely control a television outfitted with photo cells in the screen. It could turn your television on and off and change channel. Long gone were those arduous strolls across the lounge to manually adjust your set. Polley didn’t stop there however and was also hugely involved in push button car radios and VHS cassette players. (For those younger than I, they preceded DVDs.) Polley was also known for his sharp wit – At age 86, back in 2002 he told an interviewer; “The flush toilet may have been the most civilised invention ever devised, but the remote control is the next most important. It’s almost as important as sex.”

As for the reference to sliced bread – – as a bread slicer was invented in 1928, I feel (as an ardent couch potato) that this could well have been the best invention since sliced bread.


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