Although the most common remote control of the day is associated with the television, the invention of the first remote control was created for a completely different device. In 1898 Nikola Tesla patented the first remote control. This control used radio waves to move a small boat. Sounding like it came out of a modern day science fiction movie, this invention went by the name "teleautomaton"
Not long after this creation, Leonardo Torres Quevedo created the next model of the early remote controls called "Telekino". Patented in France, Spain, Great Britain and the United States, Telekino used a wireless remote-control operation to move around a small robot. Quevedo eventually advanced this technology to also control boats docking at port.
By 1932, remote controlled airplanes first flew through the air. Quickly after their invention, the same technology used to fly the children's toys began employed in military missiles during the Second World War.
Today however, the remote control is mainly used for flipping through television channels. The Zenith Radio Corporation first introduced this design in 1950. At the time, this remote was connected to the television through a wire and was ironically termed "Lazy Bones". By 1955 a wireless version called the "Flashmatic" had been invented.
Generally though, these remotes contained less than five buttons, each controlling the power, volume, and channels. However, as televisions began to advance, so did the need to select more specific options. Therefore the BBC first designed the modern television remote in 1973. With the ability to control brightness, and intensity in addition to the previous controls, it quickly became the preferred form of a television remote.
Today, wireless remotes have advanced to use Bluetooth technology. This allows for an unlimited distance and range of control, compared to the past designs that required presence in the same room. Although the remote control was once considered a great luxury item, they currently reside in almost every household in the nation. As for their future, their expansion will continue into smart phones, cars, and houses in order to assist in the control of various technological appliances.