Nootropic Design, the makers of the Video Experimenter Shield for Arduino, have used their product to create an instantly updating word cloud from over-the-air television closed captioning data, demonstrated above with The Big Bang Theory as the source. The NTSC video is passed through the shield and the Arduino sends the closed captioning text to the computer via serial. The cloud is generated by a Processing sketch, which makes words larger if they’re spoken more frequently.

Due the to large amount of drug advertisements, the word cloud for a commercial break during the NBC Nightly News is enough to make anyone feel psychosomatically inflicted with various maladies:

This is quite a clever demo of what could be done with closed captioning data and I could see a few other ways to use it. Perhaps you could use a relay to have the Arduino shut off the television when a newscast mentions a particular personality you just don’t want to hear about anymore. Or hack up up a sound-making toy to alert you when someone you do want to hear about is mentioned on CNN. Whatever you take on, closed captioning could be a great source of data for a lot of cool projects. [via Hack a Day]

Tool Review: Video Experimenter Shield