DIY Ambilight with WS2812B LEDs

Overview The goal of this project is to build a dynamic backlight, also known as an ‘ambilight’, for my PC monitor. An ambilight changes colors based on the content onscreen, extending your monitor to the wall behind it. By reducing the contrast between the monitor and the background it can also help with eye strain. There are some commercial versions of this product, but I wanted to see if I could make one myself with WS2812B addressable LEDs (also known as NeoPixels) and an Arduino. This was a fun project and I’m really happy with the end result. If you’d…

PC Software Options for Adalight – Processing vs Prismatik

Once the LED strip has been soldered together and attached behind the monitor, the next step is to configure the software on the PC. The communication protocol for Adalight is quite simple, which means there is a variety of PC software that can send color information to the Arduino. There are other options, but the two I’ll cover are Processing and Prismatik.

DIY Ambilight: Prepping the WS2812B Strip

The first step in taking the Arduino-based ‘ambilight’ from concept to completion is to modify the LED strip so it fits nicely around the monitor.  Like most addressable LEDs, the 5m roll I’m using has cut lines where you can trim it.  Because each pixel is its own self-contained circuit, you can arrange them in any shape or number you can think of so long as you connect the three wires: power, ground, and data.

Making an ‘Ambilight’ with WS2812B LEDs and Adalight: Proof of Concept

As I do more and more coding for the Footwell NeoPixels project, my mind started to wander with ideas of what else I could use addressable LEDs for. One such idea is to create an ‘ambilight’ – a backlight for a TV or LCD monitor that reads the color data onscreen and creates a glow around the bezel which matches or ‘extends’ the color to the surrounding wall. The idea is that it adds ambiance (hence the name), though it also helps with eye strain by reducing the contrast between the bright screen and the dark wall behind it. I…