Friday, February 16, 2007

Robert Adler

Robert Adler (1913-2007) was born in Vienna, Austria. He earned a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Vienna in 1937. After emigrating to the United States, he began working in the Zenith Electronics in the research division in 1941. In his lifetime, Alder was granted 180 patents for electronic devices. During World War II, Alder worked on high-frequency oscillators and electromechanical filters in aircraft radios. Alder is known for his work in surface acoustic wave technology used in color televisions and touch screens.
The invention Alder is best known for is the wireless remote control for televisions. While not the first remote control, Alder's remote control used sound to communicate with a television set instead of using light. It used aluminum rods struck by buttons on the device to produce high-frequency tones that would be interpreted to control functions by the television set. In the 1960s, Alder modified the remote control to use ultrasonic signals.
By 1963, Alder risen to through the positions of Vice, President, and Director of Research at Zenith. He remained a technical advisor to Zenith until 1997. In 1980, Alder was awarded the IEEE's Edison Medal. In 1997, Adler and Eugene Polley were awarded an Emmy by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. His most last patent application was filed February 1, 2007 for work on touch screen technology.

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