There are several celebrities that people love to hate, like Gwyneth Paltrow, and Kim Kardashian, and Snookie. And then there are the politicians that seem to make viewers angry the instant they appear on the TV screen-former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, for some, and President Barack Obama, for others. Their points of view inspire ire, perhaps, or maybe their voices just grate on people's nerves. Whatever the reason, when they're introduced on news shows or featured in commercials, peoples' stress levels skyrocket.

Matt Richardson, a video producer for technology magazine Make, likes to keep the TV on in the background while he works but got irritated when certain celebrities came on the air. So he invented "The Enough Already," a device that let him put those bothersome blowhards on mute automatically.

"A while ago it was Charlie Sheen. And then it was Sarah Palin. And then it was Donald Trump," he told CNN.com. "And after a while I realized there's sort of always someone who I don't really want to hear about."

Using a versatile piece of computer hardware called Arduino, Richardson cobbled together an infrared device that he programmed to decode his TV's closed-captioning system. The device monitors the closed-captioning track in real time, and automatically puts the TV on mute for 30 seconds when certain keywords-the ones Richardson programmed it to pick out-appear. He made it in about a week, working in his spare time, he told CNN, and his prototype cost about $70 to put together.

"The code for The Enough Already is a mashup of the closed captioning example code for the Video Experimenter Shield and Ladyada's infrared tutorial," he explained in a post at More. "I added a few lines of my own code to search for the keywords and mute and unmute the TV at the right times." He also shared his code in the post, and created a technical video explaining how he made the sanity-saving gadget:


You can program the device to pick out any keyword you want (hint: parents, you can monitor foul language!), though since closed captioning isn't always perfectly in sych with a given broadcast, there's a chance that The Enough Already might let a snippet of a forbidden celebrity through every once in a while. Seems like a small price to pay for your sanity, though.

Who would you automatically mute, if you could?






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