Computer monitor Ambilight clone shows remarkable performance


Check out this fantastic Ambilight clone for a computer monitor which [Brafilus] has been working on for a few years. It’s actually the third revision and watching the demo video below left our jaws agape.

Details are only available as comments on the YouTube page. But he’s given us just enough to be satisfied. His self-etched board hosts a PIC 18F14K50 microcontroller. It is talking to each of the 28 LED pixels which themselves live on tiny hunks of diy PCB as well. He wrote his own PC software in C# to capture the colors around the edges of the screen. He also worked hard to ensure there are plenty of tweaks available for true color matching between the monitor and what your eye sees bouncing off of the wall.

If you’re looking for something like this on your television set go back a couple of days and check out that standalone unit.


  1. XOIIO says:

    Too bad he ruined it with my little pony.

  2. Patrick Dent says:

    Was prepared to be amazed, but was instead revolted by the choice of demo video.

    • Whatnot says:

      So are there so many 13yo boys who are not confident with their masculinity on HaD or what’s the deal here?

      • Alex says:

        I don’t think “lack of confidence” is the reason people find brony culture revolting. It’s like an extreme version of “look at me in my trademark fedora.” It might not be such a big deal if they didn’t make such a big deal about it. And besides that, the amount of sexualization of a children’s TV show that you see on brony forums is just disgusting.

        Face it… It’s a weird phase that you will look back on and cringe.

        • Whatnot says:

          I have no clue what forum you are talking about to be honest, all I see is a demo video for a light effect and people here going all childish about a random freaking cartoon video.

        • Luke says:

          Cloppers don’t represent bronies as a whole, not by a long shot. Every fandom has its dark side.

          Just wanted to put that out there.

        • Blue Footed Booby says:

          The thing that bothers me about bronies is that they build an identity out of it–they aren’t just fans of the show, they’re *bronies.* Totally setting aside the sexist subtext of a lot of the criticism (“you watch a show for little girrrrrls” vs “you watch a children’s show”), they’re building an identity out of a show they like. This is the same problem I have with gamer culture and nerd culture in general. All of these are about constructing an identity out of the things you have and the media you consume, globbing it all together into a personal totem that is somehow supposed to be a badge of uniqueness despite being made entirely from mass produced parts. Bronies irritate me more in this respect than other nerd cliques specifically because they’ve latched onto a show *primarily intended to market toys.* It’s like commodity fetishism and Baudrillard’s simulacra had an unholy lovechild that then had the audacity to proclaim itself Bohemian.

          • Luke says:

            That’s a valid criticism, but considering that the brony fandom attracts a large number of artists (particularly illustrators and DJs), it is in some small way subverting the brainless consumerism Hasbro is known for pushing. They’re taking something that should’ve been commercial and making it their own.

            Of course, we’ll see how long that lasts. With Lauren Faust out of the picture for a whole two seasons now, Hasbro has been getting a bit greedy. Look no further than that Equestria Girls debacle.

      • Patrick Dent says:

        I’m 23, not 13. And it’s actually quite hard to articulate why it revolts me. It just generally does; the culture surrounding it doesn’t help in the slightest, it’s just so revoltingly cutesy. Although not as revoltingly cutesy as the older one from, like, the ’90s.

        • “at least its not as bad as the older version” good answer for the video clip but also fits many of our own projects. the reaction time on the ambilight is REALLY good!

        • Whatnot says:

          But it’s a demo of a device attached to the monitor, you are not suppose to actually ‘watch’ the damn video for content’s sake.

          • Dissy says:

            Of course not, this is hackaday readership! Discrimination flows as freely as if in a wave solder machine!

            You ignore the project and stare directly at the unrelated demo video, or stare directly at the builders chest, or directly into the laser, etc.

        • noobscrub says:

          So in other words your revulsion to bronies is an irrational gut feeling you cant’t substantiate with logic. Well done.

  3. Chris C. says:

    “Rainbows are upside down color smiles!”

    I wonder if I’m the only one who finds the Ambilight effect distracting? It’s like side effects from a bad LASIK surgery.

    • Adobe/Flash hater says:

      I’m actually perplexed by this trend
      of distracting, simulated light leakage too.
      To me it seems a bit like throwing an old color organ
      behind your TV.
      I’m old enough to have been in a room where one was on while the TV was on
      and pretty soon,
      everyone wanted it turned off.
      granted it was audio triggered
      so *not* an accurate analogy though.

      • Luke says:

        The more of your field of vision taken up by a screen, the better the effect. Your eyes really only focus on a small patch directly in front of you, and the further you go from that patch, the less acute your vision becomes.

        On a large enough screen (or if you’re sitting close enough to a small screen), this kind of device gives you the illusion of looking at an even bigger screen. It’s quite impressive, actually.

    • Ryan Voots says:

      So far the only demo of it I’ve seen that looked decent was the previous one on here that used the ST:VGER opening. Most other videos seem to make it not look that good, which is why I haven’t tried to do it yet, I don’t think it’ll come out well.

    • Z00111111 says:

      I, too, am interested in the popularity of it all.

      This particular one looks like it works marvelously, but I really don’t get the attraction. Perhaps if it was a lot dimmer?

      Is it supposed to give the impression you’re watching a screen that is a lot bigger than it really is, by making it appear that the image extends out of your focus and into your peripheral vision?

    • Matt says:

      Depends. If the room is completely dark and you are trying to watch a movie…then yes distracting.

      If you are trying to watch TV in the evening or at night and need ambient room lighting, then I like it. However…I think that example flashed around WAY too much. I think a uniform glow that changes color/brightness to match what is on the screen is much easier on the eyes.

  4. Ben says:

    Typical HAD, someone creates and demos a fantastic product. First responses are people being dicks.

    I was pretty blown away at how well it worked. Looks better than the Phillips ambx system I had for a while.

  5. Jason M says:

    Very impressive. I’d love to try something like this out in my setup.

  6. Luke says:

    Put ponies in your video, and people forget about the impressive technical accomplishment you’re trying to show off. How typical.

  7. vonskippy says:

    So moving 2D pictures with sound is no longer hyper enough to keep the ADHD crowd entertained. Now they add uber distracting flashing background lights? Geesh, maybe try reading a book every now and then.

  8. JamesW says:

    Am I the only one that thought the effect at about 1:30 was impressive?
    the video was shaking and the ambilight seemed to really be an extension of it

  9. t3rminus says:

    My first thought: “Ponies? Really…?”

    After giving it a chance, I completely understand the choice of demo video. The bright colours and flashing patterns show off the lights very effectively. Brony or not, it was a rather excellent demonstration of a rather excellent hack.

    • Whatnot says:

      Now that’s more like it, no need to like the video when it’s about the lights around the edge.

      (Although you obviously don’t want some horrid vids from syria/iraq/etc. even for a demo of a device that would be inappropriate, I give people that. I too wold have issues in some cases.)

  10. Scott Harden says:

    oh my god guys.

    It’s a pony. Get over yourself.

    I’m an electrical engineer, and occasionally visit 4chan. The responsiveness of the backlight made me grin. When I noticed the tongue-in-cheek video selection, I grinned twice. People who can’t get over the pony thing will do well in tight-pants button-up desk job life. Some people think outside the box a little, and enjoy odd humor.

    Nice hack bro.

  11. I want this! Pony/brony et fucking al!

    Great demo video showing how responsive it was. Very impressed.

  12. ino says:

    This is excellent work.
    I’m very impressed.

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