Afterglow – an ambient lighting solution

I have long wanted to build an ambient lighting solution (e.g. like Ambilight)  and at last it is starting to take shape with Afterglow, a solution built by myself and Jono.

Afterglow provides a framework to perform image capturing, colour extraction, post processing and colour output – primarily for use with lighting systems such as for ambient lighting.

The Afterglow project is designed to be an input and output agnostic framework, allowing users to create their own plugin’s to read images from the screen or perhaps a camera and to output to their own hardware solution. One idea, unrelated to existing ambilight-type solutions, is to build a sound analysis plugin that provides mood lighting for a room.

The hardware solution we used is a LED pixel string driven by an Arduino Uno. You can see how to build the hardware here, and see images of the output at the Afterglow Gallery. This uses a small Arduino program listening for serial input sent by an output plugin within Afterglow.

The reason I am interested in building an ambient lighting solution is to drive the lighting by images captured while playing a game. Traditionally ambient lighting systems have been designed to work with movies / TV whereas Afterglow is a more flexible environment that can accept any input source. This is beginning to be realised within Afterglow with the recent addition of a DirectX capture plugin.

It is still early days for the project with a long to do list and plenty of issues, but if you are after an easy to build, extensible ambient lighting solution Afterglow is a good start! Anyone interested in participating in the project or building custom plugin’s is welcome!

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