Live from Philps Research Labs: Home Lab

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Our roving cub reporter Scott Merrill is live in Amsterdam at the Philips Research labs. His first report is on the HomeLab.

The HomeLab at the Philips research center is a model home built to test and monitor real-world response to prototype technology. Thirty cameras and microphones record subjects as they use and interact with products for the home; then researches review the recordings to refine the products. The living room is currently configured to demonstrate ambX (pronounced “ambiex”), the successor to AmbiLight, which extends the accent lighting from around the television to throughout the room.


Whereas AmbiLight is a reactive system based on the dominant color on the screen, and only projecting out a couple of inches onto the wall around the television, the ambX system is programmed to execute light sequences throughout the entire room in synchronization with the movie you’re watching. The lighting in your room can be made to (reasonably) match that of the scene, making you feel more immersed in the environment. As objects move off screen, the lighting sequences can simulate the sensation of movement or peripheral action. As things happen on screen, the entire room can reflect the change: imagine the walls flashing yellow and orange as the screen shows an explosion. The immersion can be further extended with rumble pads and fans, making movie watching a more tactile experience than ever before. The system is modular and will work with whatever ambX devices you have, all owning you to start small with a few lights before going whole bore to get the fans and rumble pads.

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