Eugene Polley, the inventor of the TV remote, died May 20 of natural causes. He was 96. In 1955, the former engineer developed for Zenith the gun-shaped wireless Flash-Matic, which pointed a beam of light at photo cells in the upper corners of the television screen. Each pump of the Flash-Matic’s trigger allowed viewers to change channels or volume on their sets. During his 47-year career at Zenith, Polley earned 18 TV-related patents. Along with fellow Zenith engineer Bob Alder, he was honored in 1997 with an Emmy for their pioneering work in TV remotes.