The remote control is currently used for almost any type of electronic or household appliance, and is taken as such, being one of the most common symbols of modern technology. But how many things do you know, in fact, about this article that allows you to change the channel, set the room temperature or lock the car door?
True technology lovers can have dozens of remote controls on their coffee table or bedside table, and even those who don't put too much value on products like this will have at least two or three, one for TV, one for air conditioning and one for car. It exists in various shapes and with different numbers of buttons, from those that are pressed to those that are rotated.
Their positioning should be logical, so that everyone can learn what each option does. And while remotes are most often connected to television, this is not the first time mankind has dealt with them.
First remote control
It was produced in the 1800s, when inventor Nikola Tesla showed the world the first concept of wireless remote control, launching in New York in 1898, a small vessel that he controlled using a radio frequency accessible by using a box with a handle and a telegraph key. Although, initially, Tesla had wanted its invention to be incorporated into the US military, it did not catch on, being considered too delicate.
Instead, ordinary people were surprised and enchanted, its model being transformed to be able to control, also through wireless telegraph transmitters, signals to other vehicles, such as tricycles, motor boats or even torpedoes.
The first professional uses
During World War I these inventions were implemented when German troops used controlled boats to attack and blow up the naval ships of opposing armies, transforming the face of the theater of war forever.
During World War II, weapons and remote-controlled bombs were used. The German RC Goertz developed, in 1948, a mechanical manipulator designed to help radioactive research.
After the end of the Second World War, the Americans experimented with finding new uses for the remote control, at the end of the 1940s the products for the automatic closing of garage doors were launched.
The first TV remote control
Before the invention of the control device for TV channels, people had to get out of bed or get up from their chairs to change them manually, by pressing or turning the button on the control panel next to the screen.
It wasn't until the 1950s that Zenith launched the Lazy Bones remote control, which still used wire. Another attempt was Flashmatic TV, which used light beams to control the screen, but sensitive photographic cells reacted to other light beams, causing spontaneous channel changes.
In 1956 the first "clicker" or "Space Command Control" was produced, which used high frequency ultrasonic sounds to move the channel, without the need for batteries, because it had four small bells or hammers that hit some aluminum fibers. making sounds accessible to the TV receiver. Although the noise was not annoying to people, the four-legged friends were affected by it.
This invention became a real success, raising the price of new TVs by a third, but people bought them, becoming more and more lazy. Thus, humanity entered a new era of sedentarism, in which users no longer had to move to change the channel when it was advertised. And the televisions have taken note of this, changing the way they do their programs.
The remote control has further developed, however. Until the 1980s, the object with ultrasonic waves was the standard, after which a more efficient model with infrared light signs was invented. The item itself became so popular that people began to be exasperated by the purchase and the need to keep each box with buttons.
In their help came the invention called the universal remote control, which could control several different devices. Bang & Olufsen is one of the pioneers of this type of technology, combining audio and video terminals in a single device.
Other useful uses
Currently, you can find remote controls (here is our comparative list) capable of controlling from the TV to the home heating system. The fan, air conditioner, cars, toy helicopters or other children's items – all are controlled by a simpler or more complex device.
You can even find the remote controlled bidet, the Kohler C3 model being an interesting and unique example on this market niche.
The remote control can be small, with just a few buttons, or a real mammoth full of parts, its own LCD screens, control discs or gravitational sensors to help you make changes by simply moving your hand.
Given the development of the software niche, smartphones have also become universal remote controls capable of controlling all sorts of things, if they have the necessary software. With the right application, you can unlock the car, change the channel or set the desired temperature.
But this technology also has a professional use. There are currently many types of ammunition used in global conflicts that use laser beam guidance, controllers or guidance systems.
Some armored vehicles have remotely controlled weapons, allowing soldiers to stay safe indoors, aiming and firing using a camera and joysticks. Remotely controlled drones are able to monitor subjects or targets, as well as attack capabilities.
But remote control technology is also used for the good of mankind. NASA uses such devices in its projects, managing to bring a rover to the surface of Mars by maneuvering a spaceship. And scientists can send commands to the robot on the Martian surface, telling it to use certain tools to gather important data.
Remote controls allow people to perform tasks that are difficult to perform normally, and their history has only just begun. As humanity discovers new technologies, this device also undergoes changes designed to make life easier.