We're all still pretty shook up at the passing of Eugene J. Polley, the inventor of one of the most important devices in the past 50 years: the wireless TV remote.
But now is not the time for sorrow. Instead, it's a time to remember all of the other great remote control devices that were inspired by Eugene's invention. So as we lower the Gizmodo flag to half-mast, here's everything you'll need to live your life by remote control, and pay tribute to a true innovator.
Even when perched on your bedside table, rolling over in the morning and having to reach out to silence your alarm clock is an unpleasant way to start your day.
Besides the gigantic set of LED digits that are sure to cast a soft red nightlight glow across your room, this alarm clock includes a wireless remote for setting the time, the alarms, and most importantly, hitting the snooze button without having to get out from under your covers. $89
Who would have thought the world's most basic toy—the ball—needed remote control functionality? But that's exactly what the Sphero brings to the table.
You're not going to want to play baseball with it, but since it can be controlled via your smartphone to roll around on the ground, it opens up a whole host of other gaming possibilities. From remote controlled mini golf, to bowling, to simply racing a pair around the office. And it's an easy way to tire out a dog without you ever having to get off the couch. $130
Summer is almost upon us, and that means weekends spent frolicking in the water at the beach or cottage. And if you've ever wanted to try your hand at water skiing, but don't have the money for a full-on powerboat, this remote control tow boat is a cheaper alternative. But at $17,000, just barely.
All of the boat's movements are controlled by the skier using buttons and a control pad on the tow handle, and as soon as you let go, the boat comes to a stop. It's got a top speed of 40 mph which is impressive given its size, but at almost 400 pounds it's still probably going to need its own trailer. $17,000
In most homes the fridge is located in the kitchen, which is seemingly always too far from the bedroom, living room, or usually any place you're lounging and in need of refreshment. But what if the fridge could come to you? Well, with this remote controlled beverage cooler, it can.
Suggested uses include filling this to the brim with ice and various cans and bottles. But there's nothing that says it can't also be filled with cold cuts, condiments, maybe even a pint or two of ice cream. And best of all, you can just fill it with empty food containers when you're done and drive it out to the curb for garbage pickup the next morning. $70
Even with handy switches located on the wall, getting up to turn on the lights is an inconvenience that Eugene J. Polley probably would have also disapproved of. So swap out your old incandescent bulbs with these new-fangled LED models that include their own remote control.
They fit into a standard light socket and besides being able to turn them on or off from afar with the remote, you can also switch between 16 colors and four different lighting effects. Just because you're lazy doesn't mean you shouldn't be able to set the perfect mood. $40
Summer might be on the way, but spring is still dragging its feet. And with spring comes allergies. So if you spend your day sneezing and blowing your nose, this remote control tissue box will ensure you always have a handful of Kleenex within easy reach.
It's available in three different colors letting you match it to today's designer tissue boxes, and has a range of about 28 feet so you're always ready to battle the evil forces of ragweed and pollen. $109
But by far the best part of Eugene's invention was that it opened up a whole world of remote controlled pranks our forefathers could only have dreamed of. While the TV remote makes it easy to change the channels, it makes it even easier for someone with the right equipment to mess with the set.
And this stealth remote and IR jammer is definitely the right equipment. With a range of 400 feet you can wreak havoc on a TV without being seen, including taking over virtually every function and jamming other remotes from undoing your work. It even has a bomb mode which will automatically randomly change channels and volume for up to 15 minutes without any intervention. In other words, this device is downright evil. $30