Some people say it’s where the obesity epidemic got its start. Could be. The remote control. Today, on Engineering Works!
It’s hard to imagine life these days without the remote control. They’re everywhere. TV. Stereo player. Video games. Car door opener. Even your alarm clock can be silenced by remote control. Some curmudgeons even blame the TV remote control for turning generations of teen-agers into couch potatoes.
The idea of controlling machines at a distance has been around for more than 100 years. Physicist Nikola Tesla patented a radio remote control in 1898. He used it to steer a model boat in New York’s Madison Square Garden that same year. The first remote-controlled model airplane flew in 1932.
By the late 1930s, several high-end radio receivers could be tuned by remote control and the first television to use a remote to change channels went on the market in 1950.
Most home remote controls today use invisible infrared light to send commands. The light comes from a small light-emitting-diode, or LED, on the remote unit. The LED sends a coded pulse of light to a receiver on your TV. The receiver reads the code – power on. Go up one channel. Power off — and passes it to a microprocessor that carries out the command.
Newer remote controls respond to motion, such as a wave of your hand, or voice commands.
We’re going to push our remote control and end it for today. See you next time.
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Start the discussion: It’s easy to chuckle and agree that the TV remote control is responsible for today’s lack of fitness, but remote controls can be helpful and practical. What are some practical remote control applications? Let us know.