So, together with my friend Alessandro we went at an Arduino controller using an RGB shield for a total price lower than 40 $ using Android as user interface, having full control of two (but can be more) strips and driving them also with the music played by the smartphone.
Simply, the video show the amazing (for us!) result. Lets follow the next steps to build your own.
Step 1: Step 1 – Basic on Control a LED Strip
Activating the MOS (one for each color) will lets current flow into the LED, having more than one LED active at same time gives mixed colors. This scheme is perfect for a fist test, but all the current that your strip will sink would go thought the Arduino PCB, so don't use too longer strips.
Step 2: Step 2 – Build the Controller
The former is a shield, you just need to plug on the top of you Arduino and load the sketch, the latter is more compact but isn't a shield and needs an Arduino compatible board by Olimex to be plugged in. Both boards use a similar scheme, the current doesn't flow in the Arduino PCB and long (up to 5 meters) strips can be driven.
Once loaded on the board, following these instruction, the Android phone (using the SoulissApp) connect to the board and recognize the RGB strips, then you are ready to play :)
Step 4: Last - How It Works
The communication protocol with the other boards and the Android application is behind the framework, the user just need to specify in the sketch what is supposed to be controlled and add eventually code for customized solution and needs.
You can download Souliss at this link, is completely open-source, lets have a try!