PLEASE NOTE: we’re retiring this guide but keeping the information up for anyone who might learn from the ideas and code. It relies on an old version of Processing (at some point may stop working on new hardware), and recent operating systems are more restrictive about screen capture. It can still run with some extra work, but there’s better alternatives now, Google for “DIY Ambilight clone” for others’ projects!

One of my first projects with Adafruit was Adalight, an ambient lighting effect for media PCs, similar to the Ambilight feature of mid-2000s Philips TVs. Basically, matching what's on the screen to a set of background lights to make the display pop!

All the pieces of the Adalight project — a microcontroller, addressable “smart” LEDs and a USB connection — are present today on the diminutive Circuit Playground board. Why not replicate this classic project on today’s affordable hardware?

This small remake is no substitute for the gargantuan Adalight builds that some users have created…but for laptops or small all-in-one PCs, it can be a fun project for a board you may already be learning with. There’s no soldering and no extra power supply this time around!

Here’s what the original Adalight could do:

For small screens, and only a few minute's time, we can have a pint-sized version easily working, just some software on your PC and on the Circuit Playground board. If you love it, you can always upgrade to the mega-AdaLight version!

This guide was first published on Jan 12, 2017. It was last updated on Jan 12, 2017.

This page (Overview) was last updated on Oct 22, 2021.

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