Perhaps you remember the movie “Click” with Adam Sandler. In this movie Michael Newman gets an universal remote control to manage his life. With one click he can turn down the barking of his dog or fast-forward during a dispute with his wife. Although this is still unrealistic, remote technologies are all around us. And who knows perhaps it’s just a matter of time until we can push the pause button in our lives.
But since when have people been using remote functions and in which areas do we get in contact with them?
Nikola Tesla – The father of remote control
Let’s go back in history and ask Wikipedia where remote technology has his it’s origin. In 1898 the U.S. Patent 613,809 (Method of an Apparatus for Controlling Mechanism of Moving Vehicle or Vehicles) was described by Nikola Tesla. In the same year he demonstrated the “teleautomaton” a radio-controlled boat to public during an electrical exhibition at Madison Squarte Garden in New York.
Since Tesla many many years have passed and we make use of the magic to control one device with the help of another every day. Here are some examples:
Television – the power is yours
Imagine it’s 8 pm you are sitting in your cozy couch after a hard day at work and waiting for the prime time to start. But you are not alone. Someone is sitting next to you. And, omg, the person is switching the channel. Nooooooo. Perhaps Telsa would turn in grave, if he knew how many couch fights remote control has caused. But however since the early 1960s it has become indispensable – the television remote control.
BTW: Until today most of them are based on infrared, which is not visible for us. Do you know how to make infrared visible? Take a camera e.g. from a mobile phone and align it with the infrared led. Lo and behold!
Games – move your body
In November 2006 Nintendo released the Wii – a video game console with a motion sensor remote control. The Wii remote registers the position of a player in a room and allows the user to control in three dimensions by moving the controller. And again, like the television remote control it causes some fights & victims, just search on YouTube for “Wii accidents”.
On top of that, in 2010 Microsoft answered with kinect, which turned the player himself into a remote control.
And it goes on and on and on….
There are much more examples. We use remote control functions in photography for long-exposure shots, in the household to control air conditioning or lighting, in military for unmanned airplanes (drones), in space to control space exploration rovers.
Furthermore with the boom of smartphones and tablets we got a new powerful remote control in our hands. As an example in our mysms product we have integrated a useful remote function. It allows you to type an SMS on your computer or tablet and send it via remote control from your phone.
Future – Pause button yes/no?
What do you think: Will we get our pause button for life within the next ten years? If I look to all these great inventions in the gaming area or in the mobile world and how fast they improve, I would say “yes”. And without a doubt remote functions make life easier. BUT to be honest when I’m watching all these YouTube accident movies, I hope it will take some more time – time for practicing.