Ambilight-alike

Watch the video first. We’ll talk about it under the jump.

So, then. Philips have this lovely (and expensive) technology called Ambilight, which extends the lighting environment of what you’re watching on TV into your living room. It’s better watched than described, so if you haven’t hit play on the video above yet, please do!

I saw one of the original demos of this at CES a few years ago. It’s now consumer technology that you can buy in your local department store, and it’s a really impressive, and surprisingly immersive and effective piece of technology. But if, like me, you’re not in a hurry to replace the TV you spent a packet on, you’ll have made a sad decision to live without the flashing neon of CSI inveigling its way into the corners of your living room; and the fires of R’hllor, the Red God, will make no impression on your ceilings. Because this stuff costs money, and we’re all much too busy spending that on new binocular microscopes.

Oscar Andersson has made a Raspberry Pi-powered ambient lighting fix which I can’t distinguish from the Philips product – as you’ll see from the video above, it’s a lovely piece of work, and most importantly, it’s very affordable. You’ll find more pictures, more video and build instructions, using Adafruit’s Occidentalis distro (which is all about the hardware hacking) at Oscar’s Facebook page.

So many projects, so little time. This is the third thing I’ve blogged or stuck on Facebook this week that I want to make. Let us know if you make your own version – we’d love to hear how you get on! (Incidentally, the day someone makes a video demo that doesn’t reference Avatar is the day we at the Foundation cheer up dramatically.)