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Monitor LED backlight kit is easy on the eyes

The Antec "soundscience bias lighting halo 6 LED kit" (phew!) lights up your life, or at least the back of your desktop monitor. It's intended to ease eye fatigue, but could find a home in maker projects.

halo 6 LED backlight kit
Your monitor is all aglow.

You know that end-of-the-day feeling when you've been staring at the computer for eight hours and your eyeballs feel like you've been face down in a dune in the Sahara desert? It's just the price you pay for having a desk job in the exciting era of modern technology.

I never thought much about how I could give my aching eyes a break until Antec's "soundscience bias lighting halo 6 LED kit" showed up in my mailbox. That's a long lowercase name for a long strip of USB-powered LED lighting. The $12.95 kit just launched today.

It's a pretty simple concept. You remove the adhesive backing and slap the strip onto the back of your monitor. It's good for up to a 24-inch display. Plug it into a USB port and it emanates with a gentle glow from behind your monitor. The LEDs can be pretty subtle, especially with daylight streaming through a nearby window. As it gets darker, the effect is more pronounced.

Monitors with built-in LED backlights have been around for a bit. The Apple LED Cinema Display is a prominent example. What's new with the halo 6 kit is the idea of adding your own LEDs after the fact to any old monitor you have hanging around.

I'll admit, my eyes did seem to feel a little better than usual after a few days of using the halo 6. I can't offer up any hard scientific proof, but there's something comforting about having a display that glows from behind. I'm thinking of attaching some little feathery cherub wings to complete the look.

I can see the halo 6 kit becoming part of gamers' arsenals. Gaming computers have long been at the forefront when it comes to components that glow. A little light can be helpful if you like to spend hours in a darkened room blasting aliens off of their home planets.

I can't help but think of other ways this LED gadget could be put to work. Landing strip lights for an RC helicopter would be cool. Spruce up your office with a little mood lighting. I successfully hooked it up to my iPad 2 using the USB adapter from the Apple Camera Connection Kit. Tinkerers could have a blast coming up with creative side projects.

Antec backlight in action
I saw these same lights above Roswell. Amanda Kooser/CNET