This DIY Behind-Monitor Ambient Lighting Looks Great, Reduces Eye Strain

Cameron Coward
a year ago

Adding ambient lighting behind your computer monitor definitely looks cool, but it’s also beneficial for your eyes. That’s especially true if you often work in a dark room, because the relatively bright monitor can cause significant eye strain. The simplest solution is to put some LEDs behind your monitor to create diffuse light. But, this guide from Dargus Maximus shows you how to add some really great effects on top of that to extend your screen into the ambient lighting.

This ambient lighting system takes the colors at the edges of your screen and maps them to the RGB LEDs behind the monitor. It creates a cool effect where the colors on the screen bleed off and extend onto the wall behind the monitor, while also reducing eye strain. To build this, you’ll need an Arduino Nano V3 or a clone, a strip of WS2812B “NeoPixel” individually-addressable RGB LEDs, and a 5V power supply capable of handling the current of those LEDs. Each LED requires 0.06 amps, so if you have 60 LEDs you’ll a 3.6 A power supply at minimum — 5 A is safe.

Once you have your parts, just stick the LEDs onto the back of your monitor, making sure to keep them evenly spaced. It’s a good idea to also use additional power wires to keep from overloading the thin traces built into the strip. Then, connect the data wire to the Arduino, and make sure it’s sharing a ground with the LEDs. Finally, flash the Arduino code and install the Prismatik software that samples your screen and tells the LEDs what color they should be. The total build cost should be under $50, which is money well spent to keep your eyes healthy.

ambient light
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