Different ambient sensors differs on their ability to sense specific wavelength and introduce different ambient levels compared to human eye, here’s a general application note from OSRAM. Link here (PDF)
This application note introduces discusses ambient light sensing. The different types of ambient light sensors are described and related to specific applications.
Here’s an ambient TV lighting project by Shiva Rajagopal from Cornell University, built as a final project:
Here’s a project I recently made for the ECE 5760 FPGA class at Cornell University. I have created a real-time system that can use an NTSC video signal to simulate the lighting effects of a TV in a low-power fashion. This enables such applications as real-time ambient TV lighting, as well as simulating a TV’s light in an unoccupied home to give the appearance of an occupied home. For this to be believable, the system must be able to keep up with the flickering and update speed of a TV signal, and therefore requires a dedicated, real-time processor. The goal of this project was to create a general purpose algorithm that can accomplish this task, and use PWM outputs to drive a larger circuit that controls an RGB LED for verification. The user can send in any NTSC video signal and see the immediate changes on the LED as the video’s dominant color changes.
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